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US: Quick, severe response to Russia's troop deployments in Ukraine

BERLIN (AP), U.S. Secretary Antony Blinken warned that the United States and its allies would respond swiftly to any Russian military intervention in Ukraine.

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US: Quick, severe response to Russia's troop deployments in Ukraine

Blinken's Berlin comments appeared to be another attempt to clarify any confusion about the U.S. position and its NATO allies. This was after U.S. President Joe Biden was harshly criticized for saying that a "minor intrusion" by Russia would result in a less responsive response.

Blinken, his German counterpart, said that if any Russian military forces cross the Ukrainian border and commit additional acts of aggression against Ukraine, it will be met by a swift, severe and united response from the United States, our allies, and partners.

Blinken later accused Russia of undermining the foundations and order of the world by its estimated 100,000 troops positioned near Ukraine's borders. If Russia invades, he said Russia must be subject to a coordinated and severe global response.

Berlin was the former divided city that symbolised the Cold War divide between East and West. As Blinken prepares for Friday's meeting in Geneva with Sergey Lavrov, the stark warning was given. This high-stakes attempt to ease tensions is likely to fail.

Blinken stated that these are very difficult issues and that they will take time to resolve. "I don't think we will solve them in Geneva tomorrow," Blinken said.

He stated that Russia's actions towards Ukraine were an attempt to subvert international standards and the latest in a series of violations by Moscow of many treaties, agreements, and other commitments it made to respect the sovereignty or territory of other nations.

Blinken spoke to an audience at Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences, saying that Russia could violate these principles with impunity. It would send a message that these principles are not worth preserving to the rest of the world.

He stated that "We will not accept the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity as negotiable" and added that the situation was "bigger than a conflict among two countries and even bigger than a clash with NATO and Russia. This is a crisis that has global consequences. It requires international attention and action.

After Blinken and high ranking diplomats from France, Germany and Britain met in Berlin to present a united front against Russia due to concerns about Russia's plans to invade Ukraine, the speech was delivered. He met with Ukraine's president in Kyiv the day before to discuss the threat.

Biden stated Wednesday that he believes Moscow will invade. He also warned Vladimir Putin, Russian President, that his country would be paying a "dear cost" in the loss of lives and possible exclusion from the global financial system.

However, Biden caused consternation among the allies when he stated that the Russian invasion response "depends upon what it does."

Biden said on Thursday that Russia has a long history using other means than military action to achieve aggression. He also mentioned paramilitary tactics and so-called gray zones attacks, as well as actions by soldiers from Russia who are not wearing Russian uniforms.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the Ukrainian President, was one of those who expressed concern at Biden's "minor intrusion" comment.

"We want the great powers to remember that small nations and minor incursions are not acceptable. He tweeted that there were no minor casualties or little grief after the loss of loved one.

Thursday's speech by Blinken stressed that the U.S. was united with its allies. He noted that American diplomats had held over 100 meetings with allies in recent week "to ensure we are speaking and acting together when it comes to Russia."

He said, "That unity gives strength, which I might add that Russia cannot match." It's the reason we form voluntary alliances and partnerships. This is also why Russia recklessly seeks division."

Russia claims it is not planning an invasion. On Thursday, the West accused Russia of plotting "provocations” in Ukraine. They cited the recent delivery of weapons by British military transport planes to Ukraine.

Maria Zakharova, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson, claimed that the West and Ukraine were talking about an imminent Russian attack as a cover for "large-scale provocations by their own," including military nature.

Russia seeks binding security guarantees. This includes a ban on Ukraine joining NATO. Kyiv also wants to be excluded from NATO.

The U.S. and its European counterparts say they are open to considering certain less dramatic gestures, but that Russian demands are impossible and non-starters are not within their reach. This, Blinken stated, is evidence of Putin's ulterior motive.

He said that "our good-faith gestures so far have been rejected -- because, in reality, this crisis does not concern primarily weapons or military bases." It's about Ukraine's sovereignty and self-determination, as well as other post-Soviet countries. It's also about Russia's rejection for a post-Cold War Europe that's whole and free.

Blinken appealed to the Russian people to resist any intervention, despite concerns that Putin might not be moved by sanctions threats and that an invasion won't draw the same international response as the U.S. believes it should.

"You have the right to live in security and dignity like everyone else. And no one, not Ukraine or the United States nor the NATO countries, is trying to undermine that. He said that a pointless war in Ukraine with your neighbor is what could compromise your security. This would come with all the associated costs, most notably for young people who may risk their lives or even lose their lives.

The Ukraine crisis presents a daunting task for the U.S. and NATO allies. Biden stated that he does not plan to send combat troops in case of another Russian invasion. He could consider other, less dramatic but still dangerous military options, such as supporting the post-invasion Ukrainian resistance.

It is easy to see why the U.S. should not join a Russia-Ukraine conflict. The U.S. does not have a treaty obligation to Ukraine and war with Russia would represent a huge gamble. However, doing too little can also pose risks.

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