Washington, 24 January 2022 (TDI): CNN Chief Political Correspondent, Dana Bash, interviewed US Secretary of State, Antony J. Blinken to deliberate on US-Russia relations amid the Ukraine crisis. The interview took place on 23 January 2022.

Pro-Russian leader in Ukraine

Dana Bash started the interview by thanking Secretary Blinken for joining her at CNN. Then, she inquired about British intelligence which suggests that the Russian government wants a pro-Russian leader in Ukraine. She further asked about the US stance on this matter.

In response to this, Secretary Blinken said that he could not comment on a specific piece of intelligence but there are warnings of such kind of Russian tactics in Ukraine. In this regard, the US administration has sanctioned four agents. Surely, the US will not tolerate any kind of Russian activity to destabilize Ukraine.

On a question of a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine, Secretary Blinken commented that he can’t tell whether it is more or less likely. Perhaps, Russia has developed a lot more options in this context. But, the US is warned of possible false flag operations. It has also shown concerns regarding the presence of Russian forces at the Ukraine border.

“There’s been a lot of focus, rightly, on the fact that Russia has concentrated so many forces on Ukraine’s border, and with the history of 2014 in our minds and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine then, we’re rightly focused on that.” – Antony Blinken
Available Options for the US

Dana further asked what the US can do to stop the Russian forces stationed at the Ukraine border. Secretary Blinked answered that the US is considering two options in this context. The first option is all about diplomacy and negotiations like last week’s meeting with the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov. The second option is about aggression with substantial ramifications. And, it is not about the US only. EU, G7, and NATO members are well aware of these two pathways.

In addition, the US has provided more defensive and military assistance to Ukraine. Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania have also joined this campaign. Now the choice rests with Russian President Vladimir Putin upon adopting one of these two pathways. As far as the US is concerned, dialogue is more preferred which can enable the world for a collective security framework.

How the US views the Russian Stance?

Afterward, Dana inquired regarding the Russian demand for concrete replies which they put forward during Sergei Lavrov’s meeting last week.

“We want to make sure that even as Russia has shared its concerns with us, we and our allies because we’ve been in very close coordination on this, make clear our concerns with the actions that Russia has been taking, and we look to see if we can address any of these concerns on a reciprocal basis. That’s what diplomacy’s all about. That’s what the dialogue’s all about.”
Possibility of Sanctions

It is to be noted that earlier Ukrainian President, Zelenskyy, suggested putting sanctions proactively. Following that, Secretary Blinken remarked that the US is not waiting for sanctions. Sanctions are put in place to deter aggression.

It can lose effect if put before time. Moreover, the US has already provided every sort of assistance to Ukraine. Similarly, NATO is building its defensive capabilities to face any kind of threat.

Current Status of Donbas Region

In the next question, Dana inquired about the expected Russian occupation of the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine. Will it be seen as an invasion and liable for provoking sanctions?

In return, Secretary Blinken answered that not a single additional force from the Russian side would be tolerated in the Donbas region. If this happens, the US and European allies will put forward a swift, severe and united response.

President Joe Biden’s viewpoint

Lastly, Dana quoted President Biden who earlier said that Ukraine Invasion would be the most consequential thing after WW-II. Along these lines, Secretary Blinken commented that President Biden is right at the moment. Regrettably, the Ukrainian issue has put international principles at stake which are the cornerstone of peace and security.

These principles authorize that no nation can change the borders of another nation. Similarly, no nation can alter another nation’s policies and principles, forcefully. If the US allows other countries to violate these principles then this will open Pandora’s box.

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