The main lesson Washington and Kiev have learned from the recent escalation on the Russian-Ukrainian border is the need to remain as vigilant as possible in the event of Russian aggression. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said this in an interview with the Ukrainian edition of Radio Liberty, which took place during the visit of the head of the State Department to Kiev.
Asked about the lessons to be learned from the recent Russian escalation on the border with Ukraine, Blinken emphasized “the absolute need to remain as vigilant as possible in the event of reckless action and aggression by Russia against Ukraine.”
“We have indeed seen the largest concentration of Russian troops on the border with Ukraine since 2014, when Russia first invaded Ukraine. So we are watching this closely,” Blinken said, “Many countries have expressed not only concern but also solidarity with Ukraine in opposing these moves by Moscow.
While it is true that Russia has withdrawn some of its armed forces from the Ukrainian border, some Russian formations still remain there, as well as some heavy weapons, Blinken added, warning that Russia still has the ability to “take aggressive action” in a “fairly short time.”
Therefore, the secretary of state added, the U.S. is “watching very closely and doing everything we can to help Ukraine get the means to defend its territory and sovereignty.”
Asked to comment on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s statement about certain “red lines” that other states “should not cross,” Blinken noted that the United States does not use the term “red lines.”
Blinken also commented on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s words from his address to the Federal Assembly in April about “red lines” with regard to Russia that other states should not cross.
“When it comes to Russian aggression against Ukraine, there are two things at stake. First, the rights of the Ukrainian people and their sovereignty, the integrity of Ukraine’s territory and democracy are at stake. But there are also broader principles at stake that go far beyond Ukraine,” Blinken said, explaining that he was referring to the need to abandon such a notion as “spheres of influence,” as well as adherence to the principle “that one country cannot change its neighbors’ borders by force, has no right to tell another country what its policies should be, with whom it can cooperate.”
“If we allow these principles to be violated with impunity, it would send a signal not only to Russia but also to other countries that these rules do not matter, that countries can behave as they please. Such a recipe could lead to the collapse of the international system. It is a recipe not for cooperation but for conflict. And it is a very bad recipe, one that we are determined to resist,” the secretary of state said.