Russia-Ukraine crisis: Conflict may have been postponed but not averted

January 21, 2022

The US and Russia appear to have pulled back from the brink, for now, in talks over Ukraine in Geneva.

In the words of US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, there was no breakthrough, but the two countries are on a "clear path" to understanding each others' concerns.

That means the prospect of war in Europe recedes a little, for now.

There had been fears of a breakdown in the US-Russian talks - precipitating military action over Ukraine.

For all Russia's thinly-veiled threats to security in Europe and deadlines for the US to respond to sweeping demands, Moscow's diplomats seem willing to carry on talking.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was sounding unusually conciliatory in his press conference.

He can be known to use English to ram home a point in pithy one-liners, but today he stuck to Russian and sounded far from combative.

The talks were constructive and useful, he said.

Last week, Russian diplomats said diplomacy had hit a dead end and were sounding ominous.

But they have clearly found common ground to explore with their American counterparts.

A Russian official told Sky News the Americans had been stubborn as hell but there were morsels worth chewing over.

The crisis may have been postponed rather than averted, however.

Russia has given the Americans another week to reply in writing to their demands but for now, at least, there is less danger of the crisis sliding into conflict.

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