US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has called for diplomacy to end the Ukraine crisis in a call with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who earlier cast doubt on talks.

Russia denies plans to invade Ukraine and rejects Western complaints about its troop buildup, saying it deploys them wherever it deems necessary on its own territory.
Russia denies plans to invade Ukraine and rejects Western complaints about its troop buildup, saying it deploys them wherever it deems necessary on its own territory. (AP)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has spoken with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, urging a "diplomatic path" to de-escalate tensions surrounding Russia's military buildup in and near Ukraine.

Blinken reiterated on Tuesday the United States' commitment to Ukraine's sovereignty, the State Department said in a statement.

He said any discussion of European security must include NATO allies and European partners, including Ukraine.

Earlier, Lavrov said Russia was waiting for a response from the United States on security demands before continuing talks over Ukraine.

"We are now awaiting responses to these proposals —  as we were promised — in order to continue negotiations," he said at a joint press conference with visiting German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock.

More than a week of negotiations between Russia and the West have done little to ease worries raised by the massing of tens of thousands of Russian troops on Ukraine's borders.

READ MORE: Ukraine: Russia looking for pretext to escalate tensions

Diplomacy in focus

Blinken is set to fly to Ukraine in a show of support amid fears of a Russian invasion, as tension continues to build up in the region with Moscow sending troops to Belarus for snap military drills.

He will also head to Berlin on Thursday for four-way talks with Britain, France and Germany to discuss "joint efforts to deter further Russian aggression against Ukraine", State Department spokesman Ned Price said on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg invited Russia and allies of the North Atlantic alliance to new talks "in the near future".

The proposed series of talks would aim to "address our concerns but also listen to Russia's concerns, and to try to find a way forward to prevent any military attack against Ukraine," he told a news conference in Berlin.

Rising tension

Adding to the tensions, Russia and Ukraine's neighbour Belarus have launched a wave of military exercises.

Russian Deputy Defence Minister Alexander Fomin summoned dozens of foreign military diplomats to announce the drills in Belarus, which he said were aimed at "thwarting external aggression".

On Monday, British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace announced in parliament on Monday that Britain is sending weapons to Ukraine as part of a package that would help Kiev secure its borders.

"Ukraine has every right to defend its borders, and this new package of aid further enhances its ability to do so," Wallace said.

And speaking to Turkish reporters in Albania on Tuesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he intended to discuss the rising tensions with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

READ MORE: US accuses Russia of ‘preparing sabotage’ to justify Ukraine invasion

Source: TRTWorld and agencies