Blinken will travel to Ukraine and Germany this week

By Jennifer Hansler and Veronica Stracqualursi, CNN

Secretary of State Antony Blinken will visit Ukraine and Germany this week as the Russian threat to Ukraine continues to loom.

In Kyiv, Blinken will meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba “to reinforce the United States’ commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” according to the Department of Defense spokesman. ‘State Ned Price.

In Berlin, Blinken will “discuss recent diplomatic engagements with Russia and joint efforts to deter further Russian aggression against Ukraine, including the willingness of Allies and partners to impose massive consequences and significant economic costs on the Russia”.

Blinken will meet German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, followed by a meeting with the Transatlantic Quad, which also includes the UK and France, according to Price.

Blinken’s visit follows diplomatic talks last week between Western and Russian officials that ended without Russia committing to defuse and withdraw the tens of thousands of troops it had amassed on the border. Ukraine, leading a senior US official to warn that the “drumbeat of war was ringing loudly.

The United States has assured Ukraine of its commitment to the country, amid new warning signs and US intelligence suggesting that Russia is planning an invasion of Ukraine.

The United States has information indicating that Russia has pre-positioned a group of agents to carry out a false flag operation in eastern Ukraine in an attempt to create a pretext for an invasion, which CNN reported. for the first time and which the White House later confirmed. These agents are “trained in urban warfare and the use of explosives to commit acts of sabotage against Russian proxy forces,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Friday.

Russia has also begun to evacuate its embassy in the Ukrainian capital, which could potentially be preparation for an impending conflict, The New York Times reported. Russia denied the report and said the embassy was operating as usual.

Blinken will be the last US official to visit Zelensky, after CIA Director Bill Burns met with the Ukrainian leader last week and a delegation of US senators met with Zelensky on Monday.

This story has been updated.

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