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Severe response if ‘single additional Russian force’ enters Ukraine: Blinken

'Swift, severe and united response from us and from Europe'

Ukraine Russia File photo of Ukrainian border guards | AP

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has issued another warning against a Russian invasion of Ukraine, saying, "If a single additional Russian force goes into Ukraine in an aggressive way...that would trigger a swift, a severe and a united response from us and from Europe.”

Blinken made the remark to CNN on Sunday, as tensions between the West and Russia amplified over Moscow’s build-up over 100,000 troops along the border with Ukraine.

Russia has also deployed naval assets, with six landing ships capable of carrying tanks, troops and other vehicles, deployed through the Channel towards the Mediterranean, in what could position it to support an amphibious landing on Ukraine’s southern coast.

US President Joe Biden has made it clear that the US would not respond with boots on the ground to a Russian invasion. The most likely course of action would be the disconnecting of Russia from the international SWIFT bank messaging network, a move that would isolate Russia’s financial sector. However, Russia has been working on its own financial messaging system, SPFS. Sanctions would also be on the table.

Russia, too, enjoys the support of China, with trade between the two countries at an all-time high of $140 billion.

The US and Russia have held talks over the Ukraine crisis, with Blinken and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov meeting in Geneva on Friday, but Moscow’s demands may prove intractable. Russia has demanded that NATO not expand into Ukraine, that no alliance weapons be deployed near Russian borders and that alliance forces pull back from Central and Eastern Europe.

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