Blinken: There Will Be a “Swift and Firm” Response If Putin Recognizes “Independent” Eastern Ukraine

Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned that there will be a “swift and firm response” in the event Russian President Vladimir Putin moves to recognize an “independent” eastern Ukraine, which would violate the 2015 Minsk agreements, which were agreed to in an effort to stop fighting between the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

“Enactment of this resolution would further undermine Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, constitute a gross violation of international law, call into further question Russia’s stated commitment to continue to engage in diplomacy to achieve a peaceful resolution of this crisis,” Blinken said.

Russia has issued several security demands that the United States and its allies have already rejected.

Putin aims to curtail the enlargement of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), seeking to bar Ukraine from joining the alliance in a bid to assert Russia’s influence over its neighbors, aspirations that gained further prominence after Putin seized the Crimean Penninsula in a fait accompli.

Although Ukraine is not yet a member of NATO, it is partnered with the military alliance, a development that has angered Putin, who views Ukraine not as an independent nation but as land lost as a result of the end of the Cold War, which resulted in the Soviet Union’s collapse and diminished Russia’s superpower status.

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