Secretary of State Antony BlinkenAntony BlinkenPutin, Macron to hold call on Friday amid rising Russia-Ukraine tensions Meeks leading bipartisan trip to Ukraine amid Russia tensions Negotiating with a liar (Putin's dog is a cat) MORE on Wednesday said the U.S. is concerned Russia may launch an invasion of Ukraine and attempt a land-grab similar to its military takeover of the Crimean Peninsula in 2014.
The secretary further underscored that the Biden administration stands with Kyiv in the face of Moscow’s aggression.
“We don't have clarity into Moscow's intentions, but we do know its playbook,” Blinken said while standing alongside Ukraine’s foreign minister at the State Department.
“Our concern is that Russia may make the serious mistake of attempting to rehash what it undertook back in 2014, when it amassed forces along the border, crossed into sovereign Ukrainian territory and did so claiming — falsely — that it was provoked,” he added.
Russia’s invasion and annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula in 2014 drew immense international pushback, resulting in Moscow’s booting from the Group of 7 international working group (then the Group of 8) as well as sanctions and global condemnation.
Russia-backed separatist forces have continued to engage in fighting with Ukrainian forces on the eastern border of the country, a conflict that prompted bipartisan support for increasing U.S. assistance for Kyiv’s defensive needs, including lethal military assistance.
Blinken's remarks come as Biden officials have raised directly with the Kremlin that any increased threat to Ukraine has potential consequences.
The secretary of State noted that the U.S. has provided Ukraine with more than $409 billion in overall assistance since 2014, and that Congress has agreed with the administration’s request for almost $400 million in security assistance for Kyiv for fiscal 2022.
“We'll work with Congress, making sure that we continue to provide security assistance that Ukraine needs, including lethal defensive weapons to defend against any Russian aggression,” Blinken said.
Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said that statements of Washington’s commitments to Kyiv is important in the face of Russian aggression, and expressed gratitude for commitments to expand cooperation on defense and security.
“The best way to deter aggressive Russia is to make it clear for the Kremlin that Ukraine is strong, but also that it has strong allies that will not leave it on its own in the face of Moscow's ever increasing aggressiveness,” Kuleba said.
The meeting between America and Ukraine’s top diplomats in Washington was arranged to relaunch the U.S. and Ukraine Strategic Partnership Commission, the first meeting of the commission since 2018.
Blinken said the administration intends to make these meetings more regular, to maintain and deepen the relationship between Washington and Kyiv.