QUESTION: We want to bring in Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Mr. Secretary, thank you for joining us.
The U.S. has been warning Ukraine that a full-scale invasion is imminent. The President’s swift and severe sanctions have not deterred the Russians. So does that mean this was a failure of American diplomacy?
SECRETARY BLINKEN: To the contrary – first of all, diplomacy succeeded very effectively in bringing the world together, the United States and Europe together, in standing up to Russian aggression. At the same time, we’ve made it clear that if Russia continues to escalate, if it engages in a full-scale invasion of Ukraine beyond what it’s already doing, we’ll escalate too. And I hope that that knowledge may still act as a deterrent, but if it doesn’t we’ve been clear that Russia will face massive consequences for its actions – and it will.
QUESTION: I wonder if it’s too late. I mean, how can the world stand by and watch what could be the beginning of the bloodiest conflict in Europe since World War II?
SECRETARY BLINKEN: Well, we’re not standing by and watching. To the contrary, we’ve spent months building with allies and partners these very significant consequences for Russia. Already, just yesterday, Germany took off the table a major pipeline, an $11 billion project that Russia was counting on to be a cash cow for selling energy to Europe. That is now off the table. That’s something we’ve been working on for months. Additional sanctions that are going to make it very hard for Russia to raise money around the world to finance its projects.
If this goes forward, what we have on the table – unprecedented sanctions – will have a severe impact.
QUESTION: But Mr. Secretary, this is not stopping Vladimir Putin from a full-scale invasion. You have – even estimating over 100,000 civilians dead. Why is —
SECRETARY BLINKEN: We’re —
QUESTION: — the world going to wait for this to happen? And do you believe Putin will stop at Ukraine?
SECRETARY BLINKEN: Again, we’re not waiting, we’re acting. We’re acting in unison, we’re acting swiftly, and we’re doing everything we can to deter him. And if it doesn’t deter Putin from further aggression in Ukraine, there will be a very swift and severe response. This is a price that Vladimir Putin and Russia will pay for a long, long time.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, thank you for your time.
SECRETARY BLINKEN: Good to be with you.