The top US diplomat said the United States would impose its toughest economic sanctions on Russia yet if President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine.
In the strongest US warning yet about the crisis, Anthony Blinken expressed deep concern about a Mobilize tens of thousands of Russian troops About Ukraine Coupled with a more than tenfold rise in misinformation, falsely portraying the Ukrainian government as the aggressor.
The same mix of military power and online fake news happened in the run-up to Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea and the conflict in eastern Ukraine.
On Wednesday, the US Secretary of State said, following a meeting with NATO The foreign ministers of the Baltic states in Latvia.
“We have made clear to the Kremlin that we will respond firmly, including a set of high-impact economic measures that we have refrained from using in the past,” he said.
Russia seized Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 but denies hostile intent in the current standoff, claiming it is responding to threatening behavior by NATO and Kiev.
President PutinThe spokesman in Moscow said that Russia wanted serious negotiations with the United States and its allies to extract legal guarantees that would rule out any further NATO moves in the east and the deployment of weapons systems near Russia.
But Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General, has made clear that any attempt by Moscow to constrain the options of an independent country such as Ukraine – which has asked to join the alliance – is unacceptable.
“Russia has no veto, Russia has no opinion and Russia has no right to create a sphere of influence to try to control its neighbors,” he told a news conference in the Latvian capital Riga.
Mr. Blinkin is scheduled to meet his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, on the sidelines of another international meeting to be held in Stockholm on Thursday.
The US diplomat said that while Putin was establishing the ability to launch a military attack on Ukraine, it was not yet known whether a decision had been made to invade.
He also noted the diplomatic activity going on behind the scenes to calm tensions, stressing that Bill Burns, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), had a rare meeting with President Putin in Moscow last month.
Mr Blinken said there was “tremendous solidarity” within the 30-nation NATO in preparing to pursue strong action if Russia chose to act again on Ukraine.
“If Russia refuses diplomacy and re-invades Ukraine, we will be ready to act,” he said.