Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday signaled that there will be no change to the US policy of supporting Ukraine despite warnings from Russia that they could use nuclear weapons to defend Russian territory.
Speaking to the UN Security Council, Blinken said it was up to Putin to end the war and that the US would continue supporting Ukraine. “Because if Russia stops fighting, the war ends. If Ukraine stops fighting, Ukraine ends,” he said.
“That’s why we will continue to support Ukraine as it defends itself, and strengthen its hand to achieve a diplomatic solution on just terms at a negotiating table,” Blinken added.
Throughout the war, the Biden administration has said that it was arming Ukraine to help Kyiv gain a stronger hand in negotiations, but the US has shown no interest in pursuing a diplomatic solution. Blinken has only spoken with his Russian counterpart one time since Russia invaded on February 24, and the conversation was focused on a potential prisoner swap.
Blinken also criticized Moscow for the referendums on joining Russia that will be held in Russian-controlled areas of Ukraine. “Russia’s effort to annex more Ukrainian territory is another dangerous escalation, as well as a repudiation of diplomacy,” he said.
Addressing Russia’s nuclear warnings, Blinken said the Security Council should “send a clear message that these reckless nuclear threats must stop immediately.”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also addressed the Security Council and made clear that Moscow views the US and its allies as a party to the conflict. “What’s particularly cynical is the position of states that are pumping Ukraine full of weapons and training their soldiers,” he said.
Lavrov said Ukraine’s Western backers want “to wear down and weaken Russia.” Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has previously said that one of Washington’s goals in the war is to see a “weakened” Russia. “That policy means the direct involvement of the West in the conflict,” Lavrov said.