U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken meets with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Geneva, Switzerland, January 21, 2022.
Alex Brandon | Reuters
U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken on Sunday repeated his warning about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, saying any aggressive Russian interference would be met with a “severe” response.
“As I said, if an additional Russian army were to be sent into Ukraine in an aggressive manner, that would trigger a swift, severe and unified response from us and Europe,” Blinken said. an interview On CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Russia has been amassing troops near its border with Ukraine, prompting Western fears that the Kremlin will invade the Eastern European country. The intrusion could happen within a month, according to U.S. intelligence agencies. Meanwhile, Moscow has said it has no plans for an invasion.
To deter the Kremlin, the Biden administration and its Western allies have warned of severe sanctions. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman previously said the sanctions were aimed at targeting Russia’s export controls on major financial institutions and key industries.
The United States stressed that it will wait for sanctions to be imposed to strengthen the allies’ position.
“In terms of sanctions, the purpose of these sanctions is to deter Russian aggression. So if you trigger them now, you lose the deterrent effect,” he said.
There have been numerous high-stakes discussions between U.S. and European officials and their Russian counterparts. Blinken said the next steps depend on Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“We have given Russia two paths. There is a path of diplomacy and dialogue … but there is also a path of new aggression and serious consequences,” Blinken said. While productive dialogue is the preferred step, the United States is continuing to strengthen its defenses, Blinken said.
He later told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that it was “certainly possible” that the Kremlin would just “walk around” the conversation, “which would not affect their final decision on whether to invade or otherwise interfere in Ukraine.”
—Amanda Macias of CNBC contributed to this report.
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