Thursday, September 29, 2022

US, NATO Promise ‘Swift Response’ If Russia Moves Across Ukrainian Border – Antony Blinken

If the Russian military crosses the border with Ukraine, the United States and its allies will be quick to mount a severe response, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Thursday.

“We have been very clear – if any Russian military forces move across Ukraine border and commit new acts of aggression against Ukraine, that will be met with a swift, severe united response from us and our allies and partners,” he said at a joint press conference with German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock.

Blinken noted that he is planning to represent the shared view of the US and European partners to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov when they meet in Geneva on Friday.

“In 2014 when Russia invaded Ukraine, we responded to those aggressive actions, part of that response was to provide defensive assistance to Ukraine to make sure that if Russia continues aggression, Ukraine will have to defend itself,” Blinken said.

On Wednesday, Blinken met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba in Kiev. The sides discussed American and international security assistance to Kiev, with Blinken underscoring the US commitment to diplomacy, alongside readiness “to impose severe costs for further Russian aggression against Ukraine.”

Russia has on many occasions dismissed the allegations that it is preparing to invade Ukraine, pointing to the insecurity created by NATO’s military activity in the region. Moscow reiterates that it has no intention of attacking any country, viewing the accusations as a pretext for deploying more alliance’s military equipment close to Russian borders.

Joe_Biden_and_Vladimir_Putin_in_Geneva,
Biden and Putin

Ukraine Wants Action

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Thursday that Kiev expects Washington to take active measures when commenting on US President Joe Biden’s remarks on possible sanctions against Russia in the event of an escalation.

A day prior, Biden said that the United States and its allies in Europe will impose severe sanctions on Russia and its economy should it invade Ukraine, which might lead to the inability of Russian banks to deal in dollars, among other things.

“President Biden said very clear and simple words yesterday: Russia will be held responsible if it invades Ukraine. This is the signal that President Biden was sending to [Ukrainian] President [Volodymyr] Zelenskyy, [Russian] President [Vladimir] Putin,” Kuleba told a briefing.

Furthermore, the foreign minister said that he is sure that the US and EU will impose sanctions on Russia in the event of hostilities in Ukraine. Kuleba said that the West has never been as ready to act as now.

“Neither in 2014, nor in 2015, nor in any following year, have our partners been that willing to take action [in the event of aggression], so the current situation is fundamentally different from that one. The threat to Ukraine that Russia created in 2014 has not disappeared and never did, but Ukraine in 2022 is completely different and the partners are different,” Kuleba added.

Russia MiG-29
File Image: Russia MiG-29

Russia cannot defeat Ukraine by using “brute force,” according to Kuleba, but is now allegedly trying to spread panic and weaken the country from inside.

Moscow has repeatedly rejected accusations from western countries and Kiev of “aggressive actions” and military build-up near the Ukrainian border.

Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday that the allegations are used to prepare for provocations “including those of a military nature” in Ukraine, and added that the UK and Canada transferred arms and instructors to the post-Soviet country.

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