Moscow’s military build-up near Ukraine’s border has stoked tensions between NATO, the EU and Russia. Between diplomacy and the threat of even tougher sanctions, foreign ministers meeting in Sweden are seeking to avoid any confrontation with the Kremlin. Euronews’ Efi Koutsokosta spoke to US Secretary of State following his talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on the sidelines of a OSCE meeting in Stockholm.
“You warned of severe consequences if finally Russia invades Ukraine. What do you mean with that? And how far are you ready to go? Are you ready to go beyond economic sanctions?”, - asked the journalist.
“There would be high impact economic consequences. I think the universe of those consequences is well known to Moscow, and I hope that President Putin factors that into his calculus. At the same time, the United States, other countries have been working to make sure that Ukraine has the means to defend itself. And of course, if there are any threats to the NATO alliance, we"ll make sure that we continue to strengthen our own defensive capacities. But I also put an emphasis on the word defensive. NATO"s a defensive alliance, not an aggressive alliance. We"re here for the protection and security of our members, but also to help partners like Ukraine defend themselves if they"re at risk of aggression. So that"s what we’re focused on. But I think, again, what"s most important for Russia to understand is that actions have consequences. Those consequences are real. They"re not in Russia"s interests, and having a conflict is in no one"s interest. Let me just add this. President Biden, when he spoke to President Putin in Geneva some months ago, said that our strong preference in the United States is to have a stable, predictable relationship with Russia. Russia moving aggressively again against Ukraine would move in exactly the opposite direction of stable and predictable. I don"t think that"s good for any of us, but president was equally clear if Russia chooses to act recklessly, we"ll respond”, - answered Antony Blinken.