Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday warned Russia that the U.S. will use “high impact” economic tactics to bar aggressive action taken against Ukraine.
“We’ve made it clear to the Kremlin that we will [act] resolutely, including with a range of high impact economic measures that we’ve refrained from using in the past,” Blinken said speaking from Latvia.
“We are prepared to impose severe costs for further Russian aggression in Ukraine. NATO is prepared to reinforce its defenses on the eastern flank,” he added.
PUTIN DEMANDS NATO GUARANTEE IT WON’T EXPAND EASTWARD AMID FEARS OF RUSSIAN INVASION
Secretary of State Antony Blinken, President Biden, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov meet at the ‘Villa la Grange’ in Geneva on June 16, 2021. (DENIS BALIBOUSE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
The secretary’s comments were made in response to increased military action at the Ukrainian border, causing concern among those not only in Eastern Europe but with NATO allies.
Blinken said the Kremlin’s decision to significantly increase military presence at the border and the widespread use of anti-Ukrainian propaganda tactics on social media is reminiscent of actions taken in 2014, when Russia last invaded Ukraine.
“We’ve seen this playbook before,” he said. “Now, we don’t know whether President Putin has made the decision to invade. We do know that he’s putting in place the capacity to do so in short order should he so decide.”
PUTIN WARNS NATO NOT TO DEPLOY TROOPS OR WEAPONS TO UKRAINE
Secretary of State Antony Blinken attends the first session of the NATO foreign ministers’ meeting in Riga, Latvia on Nov. 30, 2021. (GINTS IVUSKANS/AFP via Getty Images)
The secretary said he has spoken with virtually all of the 29 other NATO members – which includes nations like the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Poland – all of which have voiced support in stopping Russian aggression.
Putin claimed in a November interview that concerns regarding a plot to invade Ukraine are “alarmist declarations” and denied any such intention.
He further accused the U.S. and its European allies of instigating the Kremlin by conducting “unscheduled drills” in the Black Sea.
“They do not want to let us relax,” Putin added.
Blinken said the U.S. has also urged Ukraine to “exercise restraint” and prevent Russia from seizing on any excuse to openly engage in military force across the border.
Pro-Kremlin activist hold Russian flags near a monument to Red Army soldier as they rally in the southern Russian city of Stavropol, on March 18, 2014, to celebrate the incorporation of Crimea. (DANIL SEMYONOV/AFP via Getty Images)
“The Russian playbook is to claim provocation for something that they were planning to do all along,” he said. “Diplomacy is the only responsible way to resolve this potential crisis.”
Blinken said the U.S. has called on all sides to return to July 2020 cease-fire levels.
“We urge Russia to de-escalate to reverse the recent troop buildup to return forces to normal peacetime positions,” he added.