Speech by U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken
Tony Blinken: &# 171; Crimea is becoming a dead weight for the Russian economy&# 187;
Deputy White House Advisor on the Ukraine Crisis and the Role of Russia
The United States expects Europe to impose additional sanctions this week against central sectors of the Russian economy, as well as against some close associates of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Deputy National Security Adviser Tony Blinken said this during a briefing at the White House on Monday..
According to him, the already existing sanctions have dealt a tangible blow to the Russian economy, which even President Putin admits..
“Capital outflows amounted to $ 70 billion in the first half of this year – more than throughout 2013, and projections for capital outflows by the end of the year are $ 100-200 billion,” Blinken said. – The volume of foreign investment is decreasing – investors are looking for stability, countries that comply with their international obligations, and countries that are involved in the global economy. Russia forces them to stop and think…. Russia is on track to reduce business activity “.
Blinken added that Crimea is also a dubious “victory” for Russia: “Ukraine is more united in its pro-Western orientation, and Crimea itself is becoming a dead weight for the Russian economy. It will require at least $ 7 billion a year to support the budget and pay pensions, 15-16 billion will have to be invested in infrastructure – and Russians themselves ask the question why this money is not being invested in Russia …. Russia’s actions in Ukraine have poured new energy into NATO. Let’s see what happens at the summit in September, but now there is a prospect of a reversal of the trend of cutting defense spending. It also forced the Europeans to start taking concrete steps towards reforms to reduce their energy dependence on Russia. “.
According to Blinken, for Russia the power of the state is a combination of influence in the international arena and improvement of the individual well-being of the country’s inhabitants..
“These are two major equal priorities for Russians,” explained the deputy adviser to the White House. – As a result of Russia’s actions in Ukraine, both of these factors were threatened. But there is still a way out of this situation – to play by the rules. Most of all, we would like to resolve this crisis through diplomacy. Now it depends on President Putin “.
As Tony Blinken noted, the American administration believes that Russia is trying to provoke Ukraine into actions that could serve as a pretext for a so-called “humanitarian invasion” to “keep the peace.” In parallel, Blinken said, Russia is increasing the supply of heavy weapons to separatists in eastern Ukraine, including multiply charged rocket launchers, tanks, armored vehicles, and artillery..
“It’s all well documented,” he said. – The Ukrainians are successfully fighting the separatists, trying to restore the sovereignty of their country. That is why we believe that Russia is redoubling its efforts. “.
Blinken noted that, according to US estimates, there are still Buk anti-aircraft guns in Ukraine, which are “potentially in the hands of separatists.”.
When asked if there is a chance that the Russian leadership will be accused of war crimes for the downed civilian liner, Blinken replied: “We do not yet know who pressed the launch, but Russia is directly responsible for what is happening in eastern Ukraine, they told the separatists the Buk missile launcher from which the plane was shot down. These weapons came from Russia. The three main separatist leaders are Russian citizens. Obviously, Russia has significant influence on them, and Russia could force them to end and transfer the conflict to a diplomatic channel. “.
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