Blinken Threatens Sanctions Against Russia If It Invades Ukraine

Blinken will meet with Russia's FM Thursday

Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned Moscow Wednesday that the US was prepared to impose “high impact” sanctions on Russia in the event of a Russian invasion.

“We’ve made it clear to the Kremlin that we will respond resolutely, including with a range of high impact economic measures that we have refrained from pursuing in the past,” Blinken said in Riga, Latvia, after meeting with other NATO foreign ministers.

Russia has strongly denied that it has any plans to invade Ukraine, but the US continues to warn of a potential Russian incursion. The US has made its assessment based on an alleged Russian troop buildup near the border with Ukraine.

“Now, we don’t know whether President Putin has made the decision to invade,” Blinken said. “We do know that he’s putting in place the capacity to do so in short order should he so decide.”

In a sign that tensions could ease, the State Department said Blinken is set to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on the sidelines of the Organization for Security and Cooperation on Europe summit in Stockholm on Thursday.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg also delivered a warning to Russia Wednesday and said that the military alliance has a “range of options” to take in response to a Russian invasion, including sanctions.

Besides sanctions, Blinken said NATO is “prepared to reinforce its defenses on the eastern flank.” The military alliance already has a presence in Eastern Europe, including in Latvia and Estonia, two countries that border Russia. Russia has been vocal about its opposition to the NATO presence in the region, and President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that he wants guarantees from the alliance that it won’t expand further eastward.

Moscow is also concerned over the Western push to arm Ukraine. The UK recently signed a military deal with Ukraine that will give Kyiv loans to purchase British warships, and the US is reportedly considering sending military advisors and more weapons to Ukraine.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.