Vladimir Putin may not stop once he has taken Ukraine, U.S. Secretary of State Tony Blinken has warned, as satellite images show Russia assembling troops, armor and artillery along Belarus’s border with Poland.
Anthony Blinken was asked by ABC News on Thursday night whether he felt the Russian president would recall his forces once Ukraine was conquered.
‘Is it a possibility that Putin goes beyond Ukraine? Sure, it’s a possibility,’ Blinken told host David Muir.
But he stressed that progressing beyond Ukraine into neighboring Poland, Slovakia, Hungary or Romania would mean invading a NATO member country, and would automatically draw in the US, UK, France, Canada and the other nations that form the 30-country alliance.
‘There is something very powerful standing in the way of that, and it’s something we call Article Five,’ said Blinken.
United States Secretary of State Anthony Blinken spoke to David Muir on ABC Thursday about Putin’s invasion of Ukraine
Blinken was asked by ABC News on Thursday night whether he felt the Russian president would recall his forces once Ukraine was conquered. ‘Is it a possibility that Putin goes beyond Ukraine? Sure, it’s a possibility,’ Blinken told host David Muir
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky holding a briefing at the Office of the Head of State in Kiev
‘That means an attack on one member of NATO is an attack on all members of NATO,’ Blinken added. ‘The president has been very clear that we will defend every inch of NATO territory.’
This comes as foreign policy correspondent Jack Detsch reported that ‘Russia has assembled troops, armor, artillery, and more than 50 heavy equipment transporters a training area in Brest, near the Polish border. Russia has also added more equipment at a nearby railyard in Belarus.’
Blinken said he believed this would be the ‘most powerful deterrent’ against Putin taking his artillery beyond Ukraine.
A satellite image shows military forces near Brest in the western Belarus
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is seen during a meeting with members of Russian business community in the Moscow Kremlin
However, Blinken remains certain Putin will try to bring about regime change in Ukraine.
‘You’re convinced Putin’s gonna overthrow this government?’ Muir asked.
‘I’m convinced he’s going to try to do that.’
Blinken added that he felt that whatever happened, ‘democracy and the independence of Ukraine will prevail’ regardless of what happens in the fighting.
Russia launched an all-out war on Ukraine Wednesday night into Thursday morning, with simultaneous attacks coming from south, east and north, by land and by air. Missiles and bombs rained from the sky, tanks rolled across the border, helicopters buzzed in and explosions were seen across the country after Putin gave the order to attack.
The attack continued into Thursday as a massive Russian helicopter assault launched on Hostomel, Ukraine and its vital Air Base just 9 miles northwest of Kyiv.
The president met with the leaders of the G7 from Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan on Thursday morning after he gathered his National Security Council in the Situation Room at the White House. Also in the G7 meeting was the president of the European Commission, President of the European Council and the NATO Secretary General.
Biden will deliver remarks on ‘Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified attack on Ukraine’ at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday afternoon in his first public appearance since the invasion.
Biden announced Tuesday the ‘first tranche’ of sanctions, a modest action that has left Democrats and Republicans alike critical that the administration isn’t being tough enough on Russia and Putin in the midst of waging war.
It also certainly did not deter Putin from making moves into Ukraine overnight.
Even after following up with additional measures, including sanctioning the company behind the Nord Stream 2 Russia-to-Germany natural gas pipeline, there are still internal and congressional pushes for Biden to issue more ‘crippling sanctions’.
Representative Adam Schiff, Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, emerged from a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) on Capitol Hill to call for more sanctions.
‘Russia has begun an unprovoked, unjustified campaign against Ukraine with a full-on invasion. Civilians are being killed, Ukraine is mobilizing its opposition to the Russian invasion,’ the Democratic California congressman told reporters. ‘We must provide Ukraine with support to defend itself.’
‘We also are going to need to, I think, dramatically escalate the sanctions that we place on Russia for this act of naked aggression by the Kremlin dictator,’ Schiff added.
Aides to the president continue to flaunt upcoming heavier punishment, but Bloomberg notes that behind the scenes there’s skepticism over the White House strategy thus far.
By ruling out military involvement, Biden now must rise to the task of proving that sanctions will suffice in deterring a major adversary, which it has not proven to be effective thus far.
There are some 90,000 U.S. troops in Europe already, many of whom have been repositioned or deployed to Eastern NATO ally countries to defend against growing aggression from the Kremlin.
Russia continues it’s full-on attack of Ukraine on Thursday as a report emerged indicating President Joe Biden’s aides knew and warned sanctions would not deter President Vladimir Putin from moving forward with invasion. A photo made available by the Ukrainian Defense Ministry shows burned Russian military vehicles near Hlukhiv of Sumy area, Ukraine on Thursday
President Biden met with his National Security Council in the White House Situation Room on Thursday morning after Russia waged war n Ukraine overnight. The president will speak at 1:30 p.m. to update the nation after the full-scale invasion
There are now approximately 90,000 U.S. service members spread throughout Europe, with many relocating or deploying to the Eastern part of the continent to aid those counties that face risk with Russia invasion of Ukraine – but no U.S. troops were deployed directly to Ukraine
Despite U.S. officials spending hundreds of hours over five months debating and crafting sanctions, at least a dozen current and former U.S. officials said they knew this would do little to deter Putin, but hands were tied after Biden ruled out military action from the U.S. in Ukraine. A man sits outside his destroyed building after bombings on the eastern Ukraine town of Chuguiv on Thursday
U.S. troops from the 173rd Army Airborne Brigade arrive in Latvia on Thursday, February 24 to provide addition assistance in Eastern Europe as Russia launches a full-scale attack on Ukraine