Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken delivers remarks to employees at the US Department of State in Washington, DC, on Jan. 27, 2021. Photo by Ron Przysucha/State Department, public domain.
This article was originally published May 3, 2021, by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken says Washington wants a stable relationship with Moscow but that will depend on Kremlin policies and how aggressively it decides to act.
Speaking on May 3 after meeting with his British counterpart in London, Blinken repeated past statements from President Joe Biden and the previous administration, saying that the United States did not want to escalate tensions with Russia.
“President Biden’s been very clear for a long time, including before he was president, that if Russia chooses to act recklessly or aggressively, we’ll respond,” he said.
“But we’re not looking to escalate: We would prefer to have a more stable, more predictable relationship,” he said. “And if Russia moves in that direction, so will we.”
Blinken’s comments on Russia come as tensions continue to spiral downward, over issues including military threats to Ukraine, the SolarWinds cyberattack on U.S. networks, and Russia’s treatment of jailed opposition activist Aleksei Navalny.
Blinken’s meeting with British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab comes as ministers from the Group of Seven (G7) countries gathered in person for the first time in two years.
In addition to Russia, other subjects on the G7 agenda include the U.S. withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, Iran’s nuclear program, and a trade deal in the wake of London’s withdrawal from the European Union.
At a news conference, Raab said Britain stood “shoulder to shoulder” with the United States on issues such as Afghanistan and Iran. He said London also agreed China needs to adhere to international commitments.
On China, Blinken said the West was not trying to restrain Beijing.
“It is not our purpose to try to contain China or to hold China down,” he said.
Copyright (c)2021 RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.
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