Russia’s war against Ukraine can be stopped by a single decision of the Russian president, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said at a press conference in Tashkent on Wednesday. He also shared his thoughts on China’s proposals to resolve this conflict, according to correspondent of Gazeta.uz.
“No one wants peace more urgently than the people of Ukraine. They’re the victims every single day of Russia’s aggression, and if they could have peace yesterday, they’d take it and so would we and so would countries around the world who are suffering from the second- and third-order effects of [Vladimir] Putin’s aggression. Now, we all know the simple truth that the war could end tomorrow — it could end today — if President Putin so decided. He started it; he can stop it. It’s, on one level, as simple as that. And we should never lose sight of that fact”, said State Secretary answering to the question of The New York Times correspondent about the U.S. position on the various countries' calls for peace talks.
“No one should lose sight of the fact that we have an aggressor and we have a victim, and to have any kind of equivalence between the two, including suggesting who is more committed to peace, I think, is profoundly wrong”, stated Mr. Blinken.
“If Russia, President Putin, were genuinely prepared to engage in meaningful diplomacy necessary to end the aggression, of course we’d be the first to work on that and to engage. But there is zero evidence of that. To the contrary, the evidence is all in the other direction. Just listen to President Putin’s own words. To cite just one example, he said recently, and publicly, that unless and until Ukraine recognizes what he called „the new territorial realities,“ there’s nothing to even talk about. In other words, unless and until Ukraine accepts the fact that Russia has seized their territory and gets to keep it, they won’t even talk. That’s obviously a nonstarter and it should be a nonstarter not just for Ukraine or for us, but for countries around the world”, stressed the head of the diplomatic mission.
Antony Blinken expressed the view that Central Asian countries share this position.
“I think that certainly resonates here in this region, where every single Central Asian country feels very strongly about their territorial integrity, their sovereignty, their independence — all of which, of course, were very, very hard-won”.
Secretary of State also spoke about what kind of peace is needed when the war ends.
“The real question is whether Russia will get to a point where it is genuinely prepared to end its aggression and to do so in a way that is consistent with the United Nations Charter and these very principles. What you hear around the world, and you saw reflected in the resolution that was passed at the UN General Assembly by 141 countries, is the strong desire for peace, but for a just and durable peace, just in that it’s consistent with the principles of the UN Charter in terms of territorial integrity, sovereignty, and independence, and durable so that we don’t leave things in a place where Russia gets to simply repeat this exercise a year or two years or three years later — it rests, it rearms, and it reattacks”, he said.
Antony Blinken also spoke about China’s proposals for peace on Ukrainian soil. “There are some positive elements there, including things that China itself has said several times in the past — very similar to elements that are in Ukraine’s own proposal that President Zelenskyy put out some time ago.
“But if China was genuinely serious about this, the very first principle it put out — sovereignty — it would have been spending all of the last year working in support of the restoration of Ukraine’s full sovereignty. And of course it’s been doing the opposite in terms of its own efforts to advance Russian propaganda and misinformation about the war, blocking and tackling for Russia in international organizations, and, as we’ve made clear recently, now contemplating the provision of lethal military assistance to Russia for its aggression against Ukraine”, stated the head of the U.S. State Department.
“China can’t have it both ways. It can’t be putting itself out as a force for peace in public while it, one way or another, continues to fuel the flames of this fire that Vladimir Putin started”, concluded Mr. Blinken.