Blinken arrives in Ukraine, warns Russia could attack at short notice
19 January 2022
United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Kyiv on Wednesday in an effort to defuse tensions with Moscow over Ukraine, warning that Putin now has the capacity to launch an attack at "very short notice".
State Department spokesman Ned Price said Blinken's visit was meant "to reiterate our support for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity".
The top US diplomat will meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy before traveling to Berlin for talks with allies, in preparation for a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Geneva later this week.
Blinken reassured diplomats at the US Embassy in Kyiv that Washington would continue to provide Ukraine with aid, and pursue sanctions if Russia were to invade, promising “relentless diplomatic efforts to prevent renewed aggression, and to promote dialogue and peace”.
"As you all know very, very well, we have been engaged in the past couple of months in an intense focus on Ukraine because of the significant buildup we've seen of Russian forces we’ve seen near the Ukrainian border," Blinken said.
“We know that there are plans in place to increase that force even more on very short notice, and that gives President Vladimir Putin the capacity, also on very short notice, to take further aggressive action against Ukraine.”
In total, around 100,000 Russian troops have been deployed near the Ukrainian border.
However, Russia has repeatedly denied any plans to invade its neighbor. Speaking to reporters on Monday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov dismissed such claims as “total disinformation”.
Instead, the Kremlin has condemned NATO activity in the region and blamed the rising tensions on the increased US military presence in Ukraine.
Last month, US President Joe Biden's administration approved the provision of an additional $200 million in defensive security assistance to Ukraine.
Germany’s new government also signalled its solidarity with allies on Tuesday, warning that it would not hesitate to block regulatory approval of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline from Russia if Moscow invades Ukraine.
Writer: Julianna Lozada
Photo Credits: BBC