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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.

Go deeper

Jan 14, 2022 - World

U.S. accuses Russia of preparing "false flag" operation to attack Ukraine

Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

The U.S. claims to have information indicating that Russia has "already prepositioned a group of operatives to conduct a false-flag operation in eastern Ukraine," laying the groundwork for a potential pretext to invade, according to a U.S. official.

Why it matters: Diplomatic talks between the U.S., its European allies and Russia failed to produce a breakthrough this week, raising fears that Moscow will invade Ukraine and unleash a devastating new war.

Updated Jan 14, 2022 - World

U.S. confirms Russia arrested REvil ransomware hackers

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaking in Moscow in June 2021. Photo: Alexei Nikolsky/TASS via Getty Images

Russia's security agency said Friday it arrested members of the Russia-based cyber gang REvil that was responsible for multiple massive ransomware attacks against U.S. companies last year.

The latest: A senior administration official confirmed on Friday afternoon that Russia informed the U.S. that it arrested the alleged hackers, including an individual responsible for the cyberattack that crippled the Colonial Pipeline.

Updated 9 mins ago - Economy & Business

Tax season nightmare ahead for understaffed IRS

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The IRS will start accepting 2021 tax returns in less than a week, and the filing delays and administrative headaches to come might eclipse last year — which was “one of the worst filing seasons," according to an independent advocacy agency within the IRS.

Why it matters: For taxpayers, especially with complex or paper filings, this means headaches, delayed refunds, and mistakes.