WASHINGTON, Jan 23 (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday rejected the idea of imposing economic sanctions on Russia now, saying doing so would undermine the West’s ability to deter possible Moscow aggression against Ukraine.
Russia’s troop buildup near its border with Ukraine has sparked Western concern that it may invade.
If Russia makes an incursion, the West has threatened sanctions with far-reaching economic effects. Moscow has said it has no plans to invade.
“When it comes to sanctions, the purpose of those sanctions is to deter Russian aggression. So if they are activated now, the deterrent effect is lost,” Blinken told CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Blinken argued that if Russian forces entered Ukraine aggressively, it would trigger a significant response.
Asked if America’s hands were tied in Ukraine because of its need for Russia’s support in talks over control of Iran’s nuclear program, Blinken, speaking with CBS’s “Face the Nation,” responded : “In the least”.
(Reporting by Susan Heavey and Arshad Mohammed; Editing in Spanish by Javier Leira)