Written by By Misha Dastigoda, CNN
During the televised press conference in Kiev, Ukraine’s deputy foreign minister suggested that Russia was prepared to take “dire” action in the region if it was forced to pull out its troops.
Western allies such as the US, Germany and the UK have called for a ceasefire between Russia and Ukraine to go into effect on Sunday. But on Thursday, the leader of Russia’s ruling party said Moscow was prepared to keep troops in its eastern Ukraine “until this cease-fire agreement takes effect.”
Blinken, who spoke alongside Ukraine’s acting President Oleksandr Turchynov and foreign ministry chief Roman Shevchuk, reiterated the international community’s rejection of Russia’s military intentions and NATO’s warnings.
“We just want a negotiated solution,” he said. “Our biggest concern is that the conditions under which you are able to talk — the Minsk [talks] — they were totally distorted during the past weeks and months, and if Ukraine is attacked, Russia is prepared to justify — want to justify — such a military aggression.”
He added: “Not only are we prepared to be provoked — it is an old and common formula in Europe — we are also prepared to use — to start using — severe consequences of an attack on Ukraine,” he said.
“I will repeat what I have said earlier. NATO doesn’t threaten anyone. We are not planning to march across borders. We respect borders of our NATO allies. We would like to ensure stability in the world.”
British Prime Minister Theresa May, who met with Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko in Kiev on Thursday, offered her country’s support to Kiev.
“The Ukraine crisis is a matter of global concern,” May said during a joint press conference with Poroshenko. “We cannot allow another standoff between Russia and Ukraine.
“We will do all we can to support Ukraine. Ukraine will be able to have a fair go in the future with the support of the international community,” she added.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg last week addressed the Russian-backed Russian regime’s push for further intervention in Ukraine during a speech at the European Parliament.
“It is very clear there is no prospect of a political solution that is acceptable to all sides to the conflict in Ukraine in the foreseeable future,” he said.
“We strongly and firmly support the Ukrainian people in their efforts to restore peace and stability in their country. This must be a moment of reconciliation, not confrontation.
“It is critical that all sides stop their provocative actions immediately.”