Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday signaled that the U.S. and its European allies were prepared to make a “united response” against any further Russian aggression Ukraine, following his diplomatic trip through Europe last week.
Appearing on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Blinken said he discussed two paths with his Russian counterpart, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, one of diplomacy and one of 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.
“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.
“Face the Nation” host Margaret Brennan questioned whether NATO allies were truly on the same page, noting the recent resignation of the head of the German Navy, Vice Admiral Kay-Achim Schoenbach, after controversial pro-Putin remarks came to light.
“I’m very confidant, 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.”
Brennan pressed the secretary on what the U.S. could negotiate with Russia, noting that Russia’s demands have been deemed non-starters. Russia has so far demanded that Ukraine be barred from ever joining NATO. The U.S. and European members of the alliance have said there are no plans for Ukraine to join any time soon.
According to Blinken, Russia has put forward some ideas which the U.S. is consulting on with its allies.
“We are now sharing our own ideas, as well as our own deep concerns and we’ll see if in the mix there. There are things that we could do, again on a reciprocal basis, that would actually advance collective security in a way that answers some of what we’re hearing from Russia answering a lot of what they’re hearing from us,” he said.