HomeEuropePutin 'precipitated virtually everything he sought to prevent': Blinken

Putin ‘precipitated virtually everything he sought to prevent’: Blinken

Antony Blinken, U.S. Secretary of State, speaks with CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin at the WEF Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland on Jan. 16th, 2024.

Adam Galici | CNBC

Russian President Vladimir Putin has “precipitated virtually everything he sought to prevent” by launching an invasion against Ukraine to separate Kyiv from the West, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said at a panel discussion in Davos, Switzerland.

“Ukraine has been a profound strategic failure for Vladimir Putin and for Russia, in so many ways,” he said Wednesday.

“You now have a Russia that overall is weaker militarily, it’s weaker economically, it’s weaker diplomatically. Europe has severed its energy dependence on Russia. Ukrainians are more united than they’ve ever been. The NATO alliance is stronger, is larger and will get larger still in the weeks ahead.”

Russia has repeatedly said that Ukraine’s NATO aspirations — which the country still upholds, along with membership in the European Union — violated its national security interests, citing it as one of the reasons behind its military campaign. NATO has previously said that Kyiv cannot join the military group while it is in an active war, as that would risk immediately drawing alliance members into a broader world conflict.

The war has benefited NATO’s expansion. Witnessing Moscow’s ire in Ukraine, Finland and Sweden abandoned their long-held neutrality and applied to join the military group in May 2022. Finland was welcomed into the fold in April 2023, while Stockholm’s bid pends ratification from holdouts Hungary and Turkey.

“Putin has already failed in what he set out to do: He set out to erase Ukraine from the map, to eliminate its independence, to subsume it into Russia. That has failed, and it cannot and will not succeed,” Blinken said, noting that Kyiv’s ambitions to deepen its relationship with the West and Europe need not have divorced it from Russia.

“That was not at all incompatible with maintaining close ties with Russia: cultural, economic and others. Those ties have now been obliterated because of Russia’s aggression,” Blinken said.

Since the invasion, Russia has annexed the Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia oblasts of Ukraine, adding to its previous takeover of the Crimean Peninsula in early 2014. Moscow’s territorial gains have come at the cost of progressive isolation on the international stage, with Western nations and the G7 slapping a spate of financial sanctions against Russian individuals and key seaborne exports of crude and oil products.

The U.S. has been a staunch ally of Ukraine throughout the war, supplying more than $75 billion in humanitarian, military and financial support. Washington’s latest intended assistance for Ukraine — which could amount to $60 billion — has been stranded in Congress, as U.S. President Joe Biden‘s administration and House Republicans fail to approve a broader funding agreement.

Russia has previously accused the U.S. of carrying out a proxy war in Ukraine.

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