U.S. Ambassador Michael Carpenter said that the West should prepare for a possible escalation in tensions with Russia.
“The drumbeat of war is sounding loud, and the rhetoric has gotten rather shrill,” Carpenter told reporters after talks with Russia in Vienna.
According to a report from Reuters: “Russia said dialogue was continuing but was hitting a dead end as it tried to persuade the West to bar Ukraine from joining NATO and roll back decades of alliance expansion in Europe – demands that the United States has called ‘non-starters.'”
Russian Ambassador Alexander Lukashevich warned of “catastrophic consequences” if the two sides weren’t able to reach an agreement but said Moscow hadn’t given up on diplomacy.
“The jury’s out on which path Vladimir Putin is going to choose. Is he going to choose the path of diplomacy and dialogue to resolve some of these problems or is he going to pursue confrontation and aggression?” Secretary of State Antony Blinken told MSNBC.
“Russia is a peace-loving country. But we do not need peace at any cost,” Lukashevich told the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
“As we prepare for an open dialogue on how to strengthen security for the benefit of all, we must decisively reject blackmail and never allow aggression and threats to be rewarded,” Carpenter told the OSCE.
Russia criticized a bill unveiled by Senate Democrats this week to impose sanctions on President Vladimir Putin and other top Kremlin officials if Russia attacks Ukraine.
Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for the Kremlin, said sanctioning Putin would be equivalent to severing relations.
“We view the appearance of such documents and statements extremely negatively against the background of an ongoing series of negotiations, albeit unsuccessful ones,” Peskov said.