Russia has amassed 100,000 troops on Ukraine’s eastern border and threatens to invade. This threat must not go unanswered, declared Secretary of State Antony Blinken. “Ukraine has a right to be independent, to have its territorial integrity protected, to have its sovereignty protected.” Moreover, “there are fundamental principles of international relations that are at stake."
“One country can’t simply change the borders of another country by force, as Russia has done with Ukraine,” stated Secretary Blinken:
“If we allow these basic principles to be violated with impunity, then we are opening a Pandora’s box that will not only be seen and felt throughout Europe, but around the world. And it will take us back to a time of division, conflict, and worse, that so many of us labored for many years to move beyond.”
So, the stakes are greater even than the fate of Ukraine. They’re greater even than the relationship between Europe and Russia, the United States and Russia, said Secretary Blinken.
The United States has worked with its NATO Allies and partners to offer Russia the path of diplomacy and dialogue. This includes meetings between the U.S. and Russia directly through the Strategic Stability Dialogue. A second venue was through the convening of the NATO-Russia Council to discuss mutual areas of concern with Russia. Finally, at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe the United States is engaged in addressing broader questions of European security alongside 56 other participating States, including Ukraine and Russia, that have equal seats at the table.
But at the same time, the U.S. and its Allies and partners are prepared to respond with significant consequences, said Secretary Blinken:
“We have spent an equal amount of time building both of those up, working very closely with Europeans on putting together a very, very hard-hitting sanctions package. This is something that not only is the United States committed to, but all of our allies and partners are as well.”
The U.S. has also continued to build up Ukraine’s defense capacity.
There are two paths before Russia: the path to diplomacy that can lead to peace and security; and the path of aggression that will lead only to conflict, severe consequences, and international condemnation. The United States and its Allies and partners continue to stand with Ukraine and stand ready to meet Russia on either path.