Dec 12, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Blinken: "Massive consequences" if Russia attacks Ukraine

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken
Secretary of State Antony Blinken at a meeting of the G7 in Liverpool, England, on Dec. 12. Photo: Anthony Devlin/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

The Biden administration has made clear to Russia that it will face "massive consequences" if it commits acts of aggression toward Ukraine, Secretary of State Antony Blinken told NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday.

Why it matters: Russia's positioning of nearly 100,000 troops near the Ukrainian border has sparked fears of a potentially devastating European conflict.

  • The troop movements have triggered alarm over a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine in early 2022.

The big picture: The U.S. and other members of the G7 met in Liverpool this weekend to discuss the escalating crisis, and issued a joint statement Sunday warning Vladimir Putin that they are "united in our condemnation of Russia’s military build-up and aggressive rhetoric towards Ukraine."

  • "We call on Russia to de-escalate, pursue diplomatic channels, and abide by its international commitments on transparency of military activities as President Biden did in his call with President Putin on 7 December," the statement read.
  • "Any use of force to change borders is strictly prohibited under international law. Russia should be in no doubt that further military aggression against Ukraine would have massive consequences and severe cost in response," it added.

What he's saying: "[W]hat the president made very clear to President Putin, what I've made very clear to Foreign Minister [Sergey] Lavrov — my counterpart— is that we are looking at and we are prepared to take the kinds of steps we've refrained from taking in the past that would have massive consequences for Russia," Blinken told "Meet the Press."

  • "If Russia continues to take reckless and aggressive actions, we will respond. And not only us; partners and allies around the world," he added.

What to watch: The State Department announced Saturday that Karen Donfried, assistant secretary for the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, will travel to Ukraine and Russia this week to further diplomatic discussions.

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