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Blinken defends not placing more sanctions on Russia ahead of possible Ukraine invasion


Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday defended the Biden’s administration’s decision not to place more sanctions on Russia ahead of a possible incursion by Moscow against Ukraine.

“The purpose of the sanctions in the first instance is to try to deter Russia from going to war. As soon as you trigger them, that deterrent is gone. And until the last minute, as long as we can try to bring a deterrent effect to this, we’re going to try to do that,” he said during an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Blinken’s defense came after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Sunday called for preemptive sanctions to be placed on Russia in anticipation of a potential invasion.


The Biden administration announced last month that it imposed sanctions on four current and former Ukrainian government officials who were believed to be working to help carry out Russian influence operations in Ukraine. Some, however, are calling on the U.S. to place more penalties on Moscow now.

Pressed by Bash on why the U.S. is holding off on more sanctions even after President Biden on Friday said he was “convinced” Russian President Vladimir Putin has “made the decision” to invade Ukraine, Blinken on Sunday emphasized that the U.S. will keep the diplomatic path open for as long as possible.

“We believe President Putin has made the decision, but until the tanks are actually rolling and the planes are flying, we will use every opportunity and every minute we have to see if diplomacy can still dissuade President Putin from carrying this forward,” Blinken said.

The secretary sounded a similar note during an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” telling moderator Chuck Todd “we continue to try to build everything we can to deter him from the course that he’s now set on.”

“And until the last minute, there is still an option to – for him to pull back. That’s what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to prevent a war. As soon as you trigger the sanctions, of course, any deterrent effect they may have is gone. They get absorbed by President Putin and he moves on,” he added.

Tags Antony Blinken Chuck Todd Dana Bash Joe Biden Vladimir Putin
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