Russia, which already fuels a deadly insurgency in eastern Ukraine that has killed more than 13,000 people since 2014, has demanded guarantees that Nato never accept the former Soviet republic or expand otherwise in Moscow’s old sphere.
The United States has declared the idea a “non-starter” and accused Russia of undermining Europe’s post-Cold War order by bullying another country into submission.
Other security guarantees that Russia seeks from the West include provisions requiring Nato forces to leave Romania and Bulgaria, the Russian foreign ministry said on Friday.
Moscow has demanded legally binding guarantees from Nato that the bloc will stop its expansion and return to its 1997 borders.
Replying to a question about what that would mean for Bulgaria and Romania, which joined Nato after 1997, the ministry said Russia wanted all foreign troops, weapons and other military hardware withdrawn from those countries.
Blinken headed to Geneva after a solidarity trip to Kyiv and talks with Britain, France and Germany in Berlin, the city that symbolised Europe’s transformation from the divisions of the Iron Curtain.
“To allow Russia to violate those principles with impunity would drag us all back to a much more dangerous and unstable time, when this continent, and this city, were divided in two,” he said, “with the threat of all-out war hanging over everyone’s heads”.