A file photo of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken Photograph:( AFP )
Russia has massed large number of troops on its border with Ukraine. This has stoked tensions in long-running conflict that has already killed thousands. Blinken met his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Stockholm
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday warned his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov of consequences if Russia did not seek diplomatic resolution over situation with Ukraine.
"The best way to avert the crisis is through diplomacy, and that's what I look forward to discussing with Sergei," Blinken told reporters before going into talks with Lavrov.
He said Russia and Ukraine should each fully implement their obligations under the 2014 Minsk peace process, which was designed to end a war between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian government forces in the east of the former Soviet republic.
Russia's massing of troops along border with Ukraine has caused alarm among the Western powers. Deployment of Russian troops has stoked tensions. The long running conflict has already left 13,000 dead.
"We have deep concerns about the aggressive posture that Russia has taken once again towards Ukraine," Blinken told reporters on Thursday after meeting Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba in Stockholm.
Kuleba said his country would "demonstrate restraint" but called on its partners to "prepare a deterrence package" that would make Russia think twice before resorting to military force.
The Kremlin said Ukraine's stated goal of retaking Crimea, which Moscow annexed in 2014, amounted to a "direct threat" to Russia.
US, Russia and Ukraine were all in Stockholm on Thursday for a meeting of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), one of the few international dialogue forums to which both the US and Russia belong.
On Wednesday, Blinken said Russia was trying to "destabilise Ukraine from within as well as large scale military operations".
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He said it was not known whether Russian President Vladimir Putin had decided to invade, but added: "We do know that he's putting in place the capacity to do so on short order, should he so decide."
Blinken warned there would be "far-reaching and long-lasting consequences" for Moscow if it pushed ahead with any aggression.
(With inputs from agencies)