Blinken: Imposing sanctions would not deter Russian "aggression"
US Secretary of State says a single "additional Russian force" going into Ukraine would trigger a "severe" response from the West, as Russian FM Spokesperson reveals that Russia does not rule out military provocations.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Sunday that imposing sanctions on Russia now would fail to "deter Russian aggression."
In an interview for CNN, Blinken explained that "building up in a united way with Europe, massive consequences for Russia, is designed to factor into President Putin's calculus and to deter and dissuade them from taking aggressive action."
The Secretay of State warned that "if a single additional Russian force goes into Ukraine in an aggressive way, as I said, that would trigger a swift, a severe and a united response from us and from Europe."
Blinken also explained that Washington believes that there are a number of areas in which the US and Russia can address common concerns, including arms control, noting that security concerns in Europe can be addressed in a good way for all.
"Germany maintaining a united front with NATO"
In the same context, Blinken told NBC that he has "no doubts" Germany is maintaining a united front with NATO on the Ukraine crisis after Berlin faced pressure to toughen its stance against potential Russian aggression.
Blinken's comments follow a week of intense diplomacy in which he held talks with his Russian counterpart and also sat down with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz as Kiev voiced mounting fears of a Russian "invasion".
Germany was in the hot seat at the weekend after its Navy chief Kay-Achim Schoenbach said Russian President Vladimir Putin deserves respect and also suggested it was "nonsense" to think Russia was ready to pour troops into Ukraine.
"I can tell you that the Germans very much share our concerns and are resolute and being determined to respond -- and to respond swiftly, effectively, and in a united way," Blinken said on NBC talk show "Meet the Press."
Lavrov-Blinken meeting in Geneva
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov announced Friday that Antony Blinken promised to provide written responses to Russian security proposals next week.
Lavrov stressed that Russia has no plans to attack or invade Ukraine and slammed the West for its "hysteria" regarding the matter.
Earlier, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres ruled out any Russian military intervention in Ukraine, expressing his hope for a diplomatic solution to the current crisis.
Russia does not rule out military provocations
For her part, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova stated that Russia does not "rule out military provocations" prepared by the West in the future.
"We don’t rule out large-scale information manipulations and provocations in the future. We don’t rule out military provocations either," Zakharova said in an interview for Rossiya-1 television.
The Spokesperson indicated that "it is very important for the collective West, for NATO, for Britons and Americans to create a corresponding information realm. They cannot act without it."