Everything you need to know about Blinken’s visit to Ukraine

Everything you need to know about Blinken’s visit to Ukraine
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in Kyiv, Ukraine January 19, 2022. Alex Brandon/Pool via REUTERS

The backstory:

  • Russia has positioned around 100,000 of its troops at the Russian-Ukrainian border, many of which have been moved there over the past year.
  • This has many experts worried that Russia could be looking to invade Ukraine, only eight years after the Russian invasion and annexation of Crimea, but Russia denies this.
  • United States officials are currently negotiating with Russian officials to see whether they can come to an agreement. One of Russia’s demands, though, is that Ukraine is barred from entering The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) – an international alliance of countries. This is something that member countries are worried about because NATO has an open-door policy.

The development:

  • US Secretary of State Antony Blinken went to Ukraine on Wednesday and warned that Russia could launch an attack on Ukraine on very short notice, but he said that the US would do its best to negotiate to pursue diplomacy.
  • He said that Ukrainians should prepare for difficult times ahead and that the US would provide assistance and defense to Ukraine and impose sanctions on Russia if it happens.
  • Russia has said that it’s still waiting for a written response from America about its demands and security guarantees from the West. The Kremlin has also migrated troops from Belarus (a former Soviet state) for joint military exercises. The position of the troops gives Russia and Belarus the option to attack Ukraine from the north, east and south.
  • “We know that there are plans in place to increase that force even more on very short notice, and that gives President Putin the capacity, also on very short notice, to take further aggressive action against Ukraine," Blinken said.
  • Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said that Russia is trying to sow panic in the country.

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