“We do not know if Putin has already decided to invade, but he has everything ready,” Blinken said after a meeting in the Latvian capital, Riga.
Blinken echoed the words of NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, who had previously said that the situation on the Russian-Ukrainian border was “a matter of grave concern”. Blingen cited the unprecedented and unreported Russian troop structure, but also cited massive campaigning on social media over the past 24 hours.
“We have all seen this before,” Blingen said, referring to the 2014 Russian invasion and subsequent annexation of Crimea. “If Russia chooses the path of conflict, we will immediately consult with our allies and respond very firmly.”
Blingen cites severe sanctions. “I see so much unity and determination in them.”
For now, the American, who will meet with his Russian envoy Sergei Lavrov on Thursday, hopes it will not come. Blinken: Putin has already said that there is no alternative to the Minsk meeting. Then let him start it again. That advice is about the future of Ukraine.
NATO leader Stoltenberg called for a resumption of talks and reiterated that Russia would pay a “high price” for any aggression in the form of severe political and economic sanctions.
At the beginning of the Riga meeting, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba called on NATO to prepare a “blocking package” of military aid and an economic embargo to prevent Russia from attacking. Blinken did not specifically comment on this, but clarified that sanctions are already in place.
The United States has been in close consultation with allies for several weeks, including Ukraine, but he has also assured Russia at the highest level. He reiterated what Stoltenberg had already said on Tuesday: there is a difference between an attack on a NATO country – which then automatically receives military assistance from all allies – and an attack on a partner country that does not meet that duty. Stoltenberg: “We have to be vigilant, but we have to try to stop the escalation.”
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