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Blinken: US and European allies prepared to make a ‘united response’ against Russia

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (AP file photo)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken says the United States and its European allies are prepared to make a "united response" against Russia if it invades neighboring Ukraine, despite Moscow’s repeated denials.

Following his diplomatic trip through Europe last week, Blinken said on Sunday he discussed two paths with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, one of diplomacy and one of what he described as continued Russian aggression.

"I tried to make clear both paths in my meeting with Foreign Minister Lavrov in Geneva this week and we'll see if we can advance the diplomacy. But even as we're doing that, we're preparing building up defenses, building up deterrence if Russia chooses the other path," he said in an interview with CBS News.

"We've been very clear that if there is any further Russian aggression in terms of sending Russian forces into Ukraine, there will be a swift, there will be a severe and there will be a united response from the United States and Europe," he added.

The host questioned whether NATO allies were truly on the same page, pointing out the recent resignation of the head of the German Navy, Vice Admiral Kay-Achim Schoenbach, after making pro-Vladimir Putin comments.

"I'm very confident, based on the many consultations I've had with European allies and partners, that there will be a swift, calibrated and also united response," Blinken said. "Look, I sat with [German Chancellor Olaf Scholz] in Germany last week, as well as with my German counterpart, my French counterpart, my British counterpart and I am very convinced there will be a united response to whatever Russia does."

The top American and Russian diplomats failed to make any major breakthrough at talks on Ukraine on Friday in Geneva, with Lavrov saying Moscow was still waiting for a written response to its demands for security guarantees.

Blinken said there are grounds to hope that mutual security concerns could be addressed.

He called the talks as "frank and substantive" but added that Russia now faced a choice.

This comes after US Vice President Harris threatened Russia with “severe costs” if it launches any military action in Ukraine.

Harris issued the threat during an interview with NBC on Thursday as host Savannah Guthrie pressed her on President Joe Biden’s comments the evening prior about Russia where he said suggested that a “minor” Russian incursion in Ukraine would not trigger massive economic sanctions that he has promised.

She insisted that the Biden administration has been clear about the penalties Russia would face if it were to invade Ukraine.



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