(FiveNation.com)- Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday that Russia is laying the groundwork for invading Ukraine, and he warned Russian President Vladimir Putin that if Russia doesn’t pull back its forces and agree to resolve the conflict diplomatically, the US would hit Moscow with “high-impact” sanctions.
That oughta do it.
Following a meeting with NATO foreign ministers in Latvia, Blinken told reporters that the US does not know whether or not Putin has made a final decision to invade Ukraine. But they do know he has put in place “the capacity to do so in short order.”
Blinken explained that the administration has “refrained” from pursuing “high-impact economic measures” in the past, but should the Russians move forward, the administration has made it clear that it would “respond resolutely,” including imposing these “high-impact” sanctions.
Blinken cited Russia’s positioning tens of thousands of additional troops near its border with Ukraine, adding the United States and its NATO allies were in solidarity about the need for a strong response if Russia does invade Ukraine. If Putin rejects diplomatic efforts, Blinken said, “we will be prepared to act.”
Earlier in the day, the Kremlin blamed Ukraine for Russia’s military buildup along the border, claiming it couldn’t reduce its presence while the government in Kyiv was conducting its own military buildup.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Wednesday that Ukraine has deployed over 120,000 troops to the area, leading Moscow to fear Ukraine prefers a military solution to the conflict.
Peskov called Ukraine’s actions “dangerous adventurism” which has caused “deep concern” in Moscow because it is “happening in the immediate vicinity of our borders.”
Maria Zakharova, the spokeswoman for Russia’s foreign ministry, accused Ukraine of placing “half of the entire Ukrainian army” in the eastern Donbas region.
Ukraine forces have been fighting Russian-backed separatists in Donbas since 2014 when Moscow illegally annexed Crimea.