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Official: Blinken, Russian FM to meet amid Ukraine tensions

December 1, 2021 GMT
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks to the media during NATO Foreign Ministers meeting in Riga, Latvia Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021. (AP Photo/Roman Koksarov, Pool)
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks to the media during NATO Foreign Ministers meeting in Riga, Latvia Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021. (AP Photo/Roman Koksarov, Pool)
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks to the media during NATO Foreign Ministers meeting in Riga, Latvia Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021. (AP Photo/Roman Koksarov, Pool)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Secretary of State Antony Blinken will meet separately with his Russian and Ukrainian counterparts on Thursday on the margins of a meeting in Stockholm, Sweden, at a time of tension over Russian military deployments on Ukraine’s borders.

A State Department official confirmed the meetings, which will happen on the sidelines of a minister-level meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Blinken is to meet first with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba and later with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Tensions over the Russian troop build-up along the border of Ukraine, whose government is seeking to align with NATO and the West, have been a focus of Blinken’s weeklong Europe trip.

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They will meet on the sidelines of the annual two-day meeting of Foreign Ministers from the 57 OSCE countries.

The OSCE is the world’s largest regional security organization and gathers countries from North America, Europe and Asia.

The official who confirmed Blinken’s meetings was not authorized to publicly discuss the plans otherwise and spoke to The Associated Press on Wednesday on the condition of anonymity.