Russia's aggressive actions against Ukraine are not limited to Ukraine, according to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
He stated this to journalists on Friday, an Ukrinform correspondent reports.
"[W]hat’s happening in Ukraine is not only about Ukraine. It’s part of a broader pattern of destabilizing, dangerous, and often illegal behavior by Moscow as it tries to build a sphere of influence that covers the countries that were once under Soviet dominion, and to stop them from realizing their democratic aspirations as fully sovereign, independent nations," the secretary of state said.
Blinken recalled that over the past two decades, Russia invaded two neighboring countries – Ukraine and Georgia – and maintains troops and munitions Moldova against the will of the government. Also, Russia has interfered in elections in many nations, including the United States, used chemical weapons to assassinate opponents of the Russian government, including on NATO soil. Russia also “supported violent dictators, enabled crimes against humanity in places like Syria.”
According to Blinken, Moscow’s actions have threatened to set a new precedent on European soil whereby basic international principles that are vital to peace and security are up for debate.
"These principles transcend Ukraine. They transcend Europe (...) In challenging them, Russia seeks to challenge the international system itself and to unravel our transatlantic alliance, erode our unity, pressure democracies into failure," he said.
At the same time, Blinken expressed hope that Russia would choose diplomacy as "the only responsible way to resolve this crisis." He noted that the United States is ready for a “meaningful reciprocal dialogue” with Russia.
"We would far prefer a diplomatic path and a diplomatic solution to a crisis that Russia has brought forth," he said.
"If Russia has legitimate concerns about our actions, the United States, our NATO Allies, our OSCE partners are willing to hear them and to try to address them – if the Kremlin is prepared to reciprocate regarding its own dangerous and destabilizing behavior," he added.