“If an additional member of the Russian force enters Ukraine aggressively, as I have said, it will lead to a quick, serious and united response from us and from Europe as well,” Blinken said. The foreign minister said the solution to the current impasse depended on Russian President Vladimir Putin and stressed that he considered the diplomatic path “more beneficial”.
“Right now the elections are for Vladimir Putin. I consider diplomacy, dialogue, and a decision on building collective security in a way that is mutually beneficial,” MTI was quoted as saying.
Blinken dismissed the idea of economic sanctions against Russia for now, saying they would undermine the West’s ability to deter potential Russian aggression against Ukraine. “In terms of sanctions, they are meant to deter Russian aggression. So if we sharpen them now, they will lose their deterrent effect,” the foreign minister said.
Western countries fear that Moscow is planning another attack on Ukraine after sending troops into Crimea in southern Ukraine in 2014 to invade the peninsula. Russia denies this is its intention, but has said it is ready to take military action if its security demands are not met.
US President Joe Biden warned Wednesday that an attack on Ukraine would have “catastrophic” consequences for Russia. Anthony Blinken discussed Russian tensions with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Friday. Both found their meeting useful and agreed to continue discussions.
The US Secretary of State also told US CBS television on Sunday. Asked if the United States’ hands were tied to Ukraine because it needed Russian support in talks to reduce Iran’s nuclear program, Blinken replied, “Not at least.”
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