During an interview with BBC, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated that although the U.S. wanted a more predictable and stable relationship with Russia, it will respond to any of Russia’s aggressive actions.
“If Russia continues its aggressive and irresponsible behavior, as in the case of the cyberattack on Solar Winds, interference with our elections or in its treatment of [Alexei] Navalny, we will respond,” stated Blinken during an interview with BBC Today.
“But at the same time we would prefer a more stable and predictable relationship, so if Russia also decides to pursue this course, we will find areas in which we can collaborate for mutual benefit,” Blinken continued. He spent the first half of the week in London in a meeting with the Group of Seven foreign ministers and then travelled to Kyiv on Thursday.
Blinken emphasized that although President Joe Biden does plan to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the near future, the American government will base its foreign policy on Russia’s actions, not on Putin and building a relationship with him.
When asked about the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which stretches along the floor of the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany and whose existence is criticized by many in both Europe and the U.S., Blinken repeated Biden’s statements.
“The president has clearly said, and has been clearly saying it for a long time, even before he became president, that the pipeline is a bad idea. This project advances Russia’s interests, but undermines Europe’s interests, and also goes against the EU’s principles concerning energy security. Furthermore, it hurts the interests of Poland, Ukraine and other important European countries,” declared the secretary of state.
Blinken’s interview with BBC Today was not only dedicated to Russia; there were many other international conflicts to be discussed. First, British journalists asked Blinken about a future trade agreement between the U.S. and Great Britain, as well as about the situation in Northern Ireland. Next, the conversation turned to the withdrawal of troops form Afghanistan and Iran.
In response to a question about China and its economic expansion, Blinken replied that the U.S. was not trying to curb China’s growth, but would stand up against any attacks on international order, which exists solely due to the mandatory adherence to certain rules.
“Our purpose is not to hold China back. We recognize that different countries have certain relations with and interests in China. Thus, we are not forcing anyone to decide between China or the U.S.,” said Blinken. “But we do say: We uphold certain basic rules, which are based on the principles of international order. When a country tries to undermine this system, play against the rules, or shirk its own responsibilities, we stand up and declare this kind of behavior unacceptable. Therefore, we are not talking about China in and of itself, but about the maintenance of an international order, which is the best guarantee for world peace, progress and stability.”
Wednesday evening, Blinken flew from London to Kyiv, where he met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba.
Both sides interpreted this visit as a sign of the U.S. support for Ukraine during its conflict with Russia.
This topic was discussed as well during the meeting of the G7’s foreign ministers in London.
“We stand with Ukraine in the face of Russian aggression. The country is met with both with this external threat, and with an internal threat — corruption and complications of the reform process,” commented Blinken during the briefing.*
*Editor’s Note: The quotations in this article, accurately translated, could not be verified.