Stockholm: Top US diplomat Antony Blinken on Thursday warned Russia against invading Ukraine, as Moscow told Kiev that any attempt to retake the Crimean peninsula amounted to a "direct threat" to Russia.
Western powers have been sounding the alarm in recent weeks about Russia massing troops along the border with Ukraine, further stoking tensions in an area where a long-running conflict has already left 13,000 dead.
Moscow, which is accused of backing the separatists fighting Kiev, has denied preparing an attack and accuses Nato of raising the temperature. "We have deep concerns about Russia’s plans for renewed aggression against Ukraine," Blinken told Lavrov in talks on Thursday near Stockholm, warning of "serious consequences" if Russia "decides to pursue confrontation". Striking a conciliatory note, Blinken said the US was ready to "facilitate" the "full implementation" of the Minsk peace accords.