Secretary Blinken stressed that measures would be taken to protect U.S. interests
U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said Russia will face “costs and consequences” for its malicious actions toward the United States.
“We will take the necessary steps to protect our interests,” Blinken said in an interview with CNN that aired Sunday but was recorded earlier, at the conclusion of Blinken’s talks with other NATO diplomats in Brussels.
He said Western allies share a “common commitment” to look at Moscow’s actions realistically and hold the Kremlin accountable.
The head of U.S. diplomacy said officials are “in the process” of examining possible Washington sanctions against Moscow and are consulting with other NATO countries on the matter.
“We are stronger when we can do it in coordination with each other,” he said.
Although the U.S. and Russia quickly agreed to extend the START-3 treaty, which expired shortly after U.S. President Joe Biden took office, the U.S. has accused Russia of other actions, including alleged bounties for killing American soldiers in Afghanistan, interfering in elections and hacking into American computer systems.
Blinken’s interview echoed remarks made by Biden, who has taken a tougher stance on Russia than his predecessor, Donald Trump.
In an interview with ABC News two weeks ago, Biden said he considered Russian President Vladimir Putin a “murderer.”
“You’ll soon see the price he pays,” Biden said then, adding that there are areas in which working together between the two countries is in their common interest.
“That’s why I extended the [START-3] treaty with them. It happened while he was doing it,” Biden said, clearly pointing to Putin’s efforts to interfere in the election.
Russia has denied interfering in the election and orchestrating a cyberattack on the U.S. technology company SolarWinds to penetrate U.S. government networks. It also denied reports of bounties for the U.S. military in Afghanistan and attempts to poison Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.
U.S. intelligence analysts concluded that Putin was probably directing efforts to help Trump get re-elected to a second term.
It is unclear what action Biden is considering against Russia, but he may impose several restrictive measures, including freezing the assets of any entities known to have directly or indirectly interfered in the election or engaged in “cyber” activities that threaten U.S. national security.
In addition, the 1991 law allows the President of the United States to prohibit U.S. banks from lending to a country that has used chemical weapons, which the Russian authorities are believed to have done to Alexei Navalny.