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US will not consider recognising Crimea as part of Russia, Blinken says

Move affirms US support for Ukraine

John Bowden
Wednesday 02 March 2022 00:05 GMT
Blinken: US will not consider ceding Crimea to Russia

After nearly a decade of war in the region, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken says that Crimea is still part of Ukraine and will not be on the table as a potential means of achieving a peaceful drawdown of tensions with Russia.

Mr Blinken made the comments on Sunday during an interview with CBS’s Face the Nation following another week of warnings from the Biden administration regarding the threat of a Russian invasion in Ukraine.

On Friday, President Joe Biden himself addressed the nation and declared that US intelligence indicated that Russian President Vladimir Putin had decided to go forward with an invasion.

The secretary of state was asked about the issue on Sunday as Face the Nation host Margaret Brennan asked him about comments that Russia’s ambassador to the US, Anatoly Antonov, had made during his own previous interview with CBS News.

“When I spoke with the Russian ambassador, he referred to Crimea, that part of Ukraine that was annexed by Russia in 2014, as part of the Russian Federation. Will the US in any way consider recognising, ceding that territory or any territories in the east of Ukraine as a diplomatic way out of avoiding a larger war?” she asked.

“No,” said the secretary, flatly.

“No, hard stop, that is not up for negotiation,” asked Ms Brennan, for clarification.

“That is correct,” he responded.

The US’s refusal to negotiate on the issue of Crimea is just one of several issues driving tension between the US and Moscow. Ukraine’s openly-stated desire to join Nato, the alliance that Russia views as its continued political adversary, has also remained an open issue as Moscow demands that the alliance permanently refuse admittance to Ukraine.

Mr Biden declared on Friday that the vocal criticism the US government has levelled at Moscow was aimed at doing everything possible to dissuade Russia from choosing invasion and said that an attack before Mr Blinken’s upcoming meeting with Sergei Lavrov would show that Mr Putin had “slammed the door shut on diplomacy”.

"We're calling out Russia's plans loudly and repeatedly not because we want a conflict, but because we're doing everything in our power to remove any reason that Russia may give to justify invading Ukraine,” said the president.

Moscow has repeatedly denied plans to invade and claimed to have ratcheted down its troop presence at the Ukrainian border; the White House has directly disputed that claim.

“There is no invasion. There is no such plans,” Anatoly Antonov, the ambassador, said on Sunday during his own interview with Ms Brennan

“Russian troops are on sovereign Russian territory,” he added. “We don't threaten anyone."

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