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Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned Russia on Tuesday that it will face “serious consequences” if it attacks Ukraine after Moscow increased its military presence along the border of the former Soviet republic for the second time this year.
“Any escalatory action by Russia would be of great concern to the United States, as well as to Latvia, and any renewed aggression would provoke serious consequences,” the politician told a press conference alongside Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs.
Blinken added that he will have “much more” to say on the matter on Wednesday, after the meeting of NATO foreign ministers starting today in Riga, where Russia’s military buildup next to Ukraine will be addressed.
In any case, he mentioned “Russia’s ongoing actions in Ukraine, its increasingly belligerent rhetoric, its recent buildup of forces, its out-of-the-ordinary movements along Ukraine’s border.”
“Part of that playbook is to try to create and manufacture so-called provocation as a justification for something that Russia is planning to do all along. Whether from what is being reported squares with that playbook, I don’t know, but (…) we are very concerned about the movements we see along the Ukrainian border. We know that Russia often combines those efforts with domestic efforts to destabilize a country,” he said.
Blinken also referred to the hybrid attack by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, who has sent migrants from the Middle East to the borders of Poland, Lithuania and Latvia to put pressure on those countries, as well as the European Union and NATO.
“We join Latvia in condemning this cynical and inhumane way in which the Lukashenko regime has exploited vulnerable people to orchestrate irregular migration flows along its borders and recognize the right of the Government of Latvia and others in the region to protect their borders, consistent with international law and the humane approach that is needed,” he commented.
He stressed that President Joe Biden is “deeply committed” to NATO, to the principle of collective defense whereby an attack on one of the allies is equivalent to an attack on all of them, and “equally committed” to security in the Baltic region.