Blinken warns Russia that ‘renewed aggression’ toward Ukraine ‘can trigger serious consequences’

Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

  • Blinken on Tuesday warned Russia against taking aggressive actions toward Ukraine. 
  • “Any renewed aggression can trigger serious consequences,” Blinken said. 
  • Russia has amassed tens of thousands of troops along Ukraine’s border.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday issued a stark warning to Moscow over its actions toward Ukraine, amid concerns that Russia could be gearing up for an invasion in the near future. 

“Let me just reiterate that any escalatory actions by Russia would be of great concern to the United States … and any renewed aggression can trigger serious consequences,” Blinken said during a joint press conference with Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs in Riga, per CNN.

The top US diplomat expressed consternation over Russia’s “increasingly belligerent rhetoric, it’s recent buildup of forces” and its “unusual troop movements along Ukraine’s border.”

Blinken was in Riga to meet with NATO foreign ministers to discuss the concerns regarding Russia’s military activities along Ukraine’s border, and said he’d have more to say on Moscow’s behavior on Wednesday following the meetings. 

Russian aggression toward Ukraine has been at the heart of tensions between Moscow and the West in recent years. Ukraine is widely viewed as a geopolitical dividing line, much like the Berlin Wall during the Cold War. 

In 2014, Russian forces entered Crimea and it was unilaterally annexed by Russian President Vladimir Putin. Since that year, Ukrainian troops have been fighting a war against Kremlin-backed rebels in the eastern Donbass region. The conflict has claimed over 13,000 lives. Russia denies any involvement in the Ukraine war. 

Russia aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin looks over a mockup of Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov while at a military exposition in Sevastopol, Crimea, January 9, 2020.

The recent buildup of Russian troops along Ukraine’s border has raised grave concerns that the Kremlin is preparing for a military incursion. This is not the first time this year that Russia has sparked anxiety about a potential invasion of Ukraine. Back in the spring, the Russian military also gathered a sizable force near the border of the former Soviet republic.

Russia has blamed NATO and the West for the rising tensions over Ukraine.

Putin recently accused the West of not respecting his “red lines” when it comes to Russia’s nextdoor neighbor. For years, Ukraine has sought to become a NATO member — a move that would be unacceptable in the Kremlin’s eyes. Russia views NATO’s increasing influence in Ukraine as a major security threat. NATO was originally founded to counter the Soviet Union, and Putin — a former KGB operative — routinely bashes the alliance. 

Fiona Hill, who served as the top Russia advisor on the National Security Council under the Trump administration, recently told Insider that Putin views Ukraine as “unfinished business” and is “deadly serious” about neutralizing it “one way or another.”

Similarly, Ivo Daalder, the US ambassador to NATO from 2009 to 2013, told Insider, “There is a major risk of Russian military activity in Ukraine in the next few months. All the signs point to a major build up of military capability.”

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