Blinken says Russia would have to commit to no new invasions in order for sanctions to be eased

Blinken said "this can't happen again," says the US would need assurances "that Russia won't pick up and do exactly what it's doing in a year or two years or three years."

Hannah Nightingale Washington DC

In a Wednesday interview, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that were Russia to stop its Ukraine invasion that may still not be enough to see an easing of sanctions placed on the country by the west. Blinken said that an assurance of no future invasions would also be necessary.

Speaking with NPR, Blinken spoke on effects that western sanctions have had in Russia, including the drop in value of the Russian ruble, global firms closing their operations within the country, and the closing of the Moscow stock market.

Blinken said that the financial sanctions are beginning to wreak long-term effects that are "growing over time." Despite this, he said that these sanctions are "not designed to be permanent."

Blinken said that these sanctions could "go away" if Russia pulls back from Ukraine, and that the withdrawal would have to be, "in effect, irreversible," so that "this can't happen again, that Russia won't pick up and do exactly what it's doing in a year or two years or three years."

"Blinken held out no prospect that Moscow is ready to consider any such terms," NPR reported.

Negotiators from both countries have been meeting recently, with Russia making a variety of demands, including the recognition of its past seizures of Ukrainian territory.

Blinken warned that a more likely scenario is continued war and devastation in Ukrainian cities.

"We've seen the brutality that Vladimir Putin has brought to this. We know his track record in Chechnya. We know the track record of what he's aided and abetted in Syria. I think we have to expect the same, and part of the reason we have to expect the same is that this is not gone according to Putin's plan," Blinken said.

Blinken said that Putin expected the Ukrainians to either "welcome them or at least fold their tents and and move out," but the Ukrainians instead have been fighting back.

Blinken was then asked if the United States and its European allies would be able to isolate China in the same way that they’ve isolated Russia.

"Well, China's already on the wrong side of history when it comes to Ukraine and the aggression being committed by Russia. The fact that it has not stood strongly against it, that it has not pronounced itself against this aggression, flies in the face of China's commitments as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council responsible for maintaining peace and security," he said.

"It's totally inconsistent with what China says and repeats over and over again, about the sanctity of the United Nations Charter and the basic principles including the sovereignty of nations. And so we're looking to China to speak out, to speak up, and to be very clear," Blinken continued.

"Second, of course, if China actually provides material support in one way or another to Russia in this effort, that would be even worse and something we're looking very carefully at, but I think this is doing real damage to China, reputationally in Asia, in Europe, in Africa and other parts of the world," he added.


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