The head of US diplomacy, Antony Blinken, indicated that Washington and its allies would take measures that until now they have avoided using in case Moscow follows “the path of confrontation.”
The US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, warned Russia on Wednesday that the allies will impose economic sanctions that for the moment they have refrained from using if Moscow decides a new military attack against Ukraine, on whose border it accumulates troops. of combat.
” If Russia follows the path of confrontation in Ukraine, we will respond resolutely, including with economic impact measures that we have avoided using in the past, ” Blinken said at a press conference at the end of a two-day meeting of foreign ministers of Ukraine. NATO, and a day before he met with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov .
The head of US diplomacy assured that he has shared that idea with allies and partners and that he has “found tremendous solidarity” in terms of “determination and willingness to pursue strong measures if Russia invades Ukraine.”
Blinken did not specify what those measures might be but said it will work closely with allies and partner countries in the coming days and weeks to address the details.
In recent weeks, he said, “Russia has accelerated planning for potential military action in Ukraine, including by positioning tens of thousands of additional combat forces near the Ukrainian border.”
” We are deeply concerned by the evidence that Russia has made plans for a significant aggression against Ukraine, ” he stressed, referring to the fact that such planning includes “destabilizing Ukraine from within” and “large-scale military operations.”
“We have seen this playbook before, in 2014, the last time Russia invaded Ukraine. Then, as now, they significantly increased combat forces near the border, and then, as now, they intensified disinformation “to position Ukraine as the aggressor that would justify a planned military action in advance, he said.
“ We do not know if President (Russian, Vladimir) Putin has decided to invade. What we do know is that it has put in place the capacity to do so in a short time if it so decides, ”he warned.
Despite “the uncertainty about intentions and timing,” Blinklen advocated “preparing for all contingencies as we work for Russia to reverse this course.”
He recalled that US President Joe Biden has addressed the issue with allies and partners at the last G20 summit in Rome and even directly with Putin and that they have made it clear to Moscow that “we would respond with determination, including with a set of measures with a high economic impact that we have refrained from using in the past ”.
In Riga, Blinken said that he has “consulted and coordinated with the allies” and that “it is clear that they are as determined as we are”.
“I have heard it loud and clear in our discussions yesterday and today from virtually all NATO members, and indirect consultations with France, Germany, and the United Kingdom,” he explained, stressing that “we are prepared to impose a severe cost on a new Russian aggression in Ukraine “while” NATO is prepared to reinforce its defenses on the eastern flank. “
Blinken pointed out that tomorrow he will continue the consultations at the meeting of foreign ministers of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) that is held until Friday in Stockholm, in which he will also meet with his Russian counterparts, Sergei Lavrov, and Ukrainian, Dmitro Kuleba.
“Just as we have been clear with Moscow, we also urge Ukraine to continue exercising restraint,” he declared, since what Russia wants is to “provoke” for “something that it is planning to do alone.”
For this reason, he urged that Russia and Ukraine “return to dialogue” within the framework of the Minsk peace accords.