Blinken says Russia will face “massive consequences” if it invades Ukraine

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Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned on Sunday that there would be “massive consequences” if Russia invaded Ukraine or continued to assault its border.

“They are also determined to oppose Russian aggression, ideally to deter it, to prevent it,” Blinken said, referring to the American allies he met at the G7 meeting on Saturday. “And we have also made it clear that there will be massive consequences if Russia commits further acts of aggression against Ukraine.”

Blinken told NBC’s “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd that President Biden had “made it clear” to Russian President Vladimir Putin on two occasions that the United States preferred a “more stable and predictable relationship with Russia.” And that the United States and its allies will take action if they continue to be “reckless.”

BLINKEN ATTENDS G7 MEETING AT UNITED FRONT AGAINST “HOSTILE ACTORS” AMID CONCERNS OF RUSSIA AND UKRAINE TUSSLE

Antony Blinken, Secretary of State of the United States, speaks at a meeting of the United Nations Security Council, Thursday, September 23, 2021, during the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York . (AP Photo / John Minchillo, Pool)
(AP Photo / John Minchillo, Pool)

“I think what people need to understand is that Ukraine is important, and we are resolute in our commitment to its sovereignty, its territorial integrity,” Blinken said. “But there is something even bigger at play here, and these are the basic rules of the road of the international system, rules that say one country cannot change another’s borders by force, a country cannot dictate to another country its choices, its decisions and its foreign policy, with which it will associate.

“This is what Russia claims to be asserting. And if we let it go with impunity, then the whole system that provides stability, prevents war from breaking out is in danger, ”Blinken continued.

President Biden virtually meets Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday, December 7, 2021. (Photo: White House)
(White House)

Todd went on to explain to Blinken why “Russia amassing troops and terrorizing Ukraine” did not trigger a response from the United States to “punish” Russia.

“Well that was a trigger for action,” Blinken said. “It was a trigger for us to bring together allies and partners from all over the world, starting with Europe with our closest partners, NATO, again, where I was a few weeks ago in barely, bringing people together, together to clarify not only the deep common concern, but the fact that we are ready together in a coordinated manner to take very strong action if Mr. Putin continues his aggression against Ukraine.

President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin arrive to meet at the

President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin arrive to meet at “Villa la Grange” in Geneva, Switzerland, June 16, 2021.
(AP Photo / Patrick Semansky, File)

Later in the interview, Blinken was asked if a face-to-face meeting between Biden and Putin was on the table, a request Putin made of Biden. Blinken avoided answering the question the first two times he was asked the question, instead speaking of how they would like to see “Russia withdraw its forces from the border” and “engage in good faith in the diplomacy and diplomatic dialogue with Europeans, with Ukraine, to resolve the conflict in eastern Ukraine and restore Ukraine’s borders.

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Todd noted after the interview that he questioned Blinken a third time about the face-to-face meeting and Blinken told him it was not irrelevant, but “quite unlikely.”

US officials argue that Putin has not decided whether he will invade Ukraine, but the US has warned of the “high impact” economic consequences if he denies Ukraine’s sovereignty.

The White House has not expressed what its strategic response would look like if the Kremlin ignores warnings from the United States and its allies, but the addition of American troops in neighboring countries and blocking the completion of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline have been announced as potential options.

Fox News’ Caitlin McFall contributed to this report.

Christi C. Elwood