Blinken rejects calls to unveil sanctions against Russia before invasion of Ukraine
The United States does not want to unveil any sanctions against Russia prior to any Russian offensive action against Ukraine as that would “allow Russia to try and plan against them,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told the U.S.-based CNN television news channel on Feb. 20.
A day prior on Feb. 19, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at the Munich Security Conference told U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris that he was urging the United States and Europe not to wait to put in place sanctions against Russia, arguing that they wouldn’t help Ukraine if they only were invoked after an invasion had already begun.
The United States has disagreed with Zelensky’s assessment, with Blinken saying that “the purpose of the sanctions in the first instance is to try to deter Russia from going to war,” and that “deterrence is gone” as soon as those sanctions are trigged.
Some proposed sanctions against the Russian Federation in the event of a further invasion of Ukraine include cutting Russia off from international payment system SWIFT, sanctioning the Nord Stream-2 pipeline, and applying personal sanctions against Russian President Vladimir Putin and other top Russia officials.
Russia has been massing troops at the border since late October.
The U.S. ambassador to the OSCE, Michael Carpenter, said on Feb. 21 that Russia has arrayed between 169,000 and 190,000 troops on the Russian-Ukrainian and Belarusian-Ukrainian border, and in the temporarily occupied territories of Crimea and the Donbas.
While officially denying its intention to carry out a large-scale invasion of Ukraine, Russia continues to provide arms and orders to its proxy groups in non-government controlled regions of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts.
Zelensky has emphasized that the country is ready to defend itself against the Russian invasion, regardless of the date.
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