The U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken travels to Paris on Tuesday for talks with French President Emmanuel Macron, who maintains regular telephone contacts with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelenskiy.
The visit is seen as a new stage in the diplomatic efforts of the United States and European countries aimed at ending the war in Ukraine.
However, the Secretary of State made it clear that he was not bringing any new diplomatic initiatives with him.
“There are no changes in what we say to Moscow,” Blinken said before leaving. “Our message to Russia and President Putin remains the same: stop the war and stop it immediately.”
On Monday, the leaders of the United States, France, Germany and the United Kingdom agreed to strengthen the sanctions regime against Russia in the context of the escalation of Russian hostilities on the territory of Ukraine.
The U.S. and French Presidents Joe Biden and Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson discussed the situation in Ukraine during a videoconference.
In a brief statement issued by the White House following its results, it says that Western leaders “reaffirmed their determination to achieve an increase in costs for Russia as a result of its unprovoked and unjustified invasion of Ukraine.”
However, the statement does not mention the possibility of imposing a ban on the import of Russian oil and other energy carriers.
Other specific sanctions are also not mentioned.
Before the videoconference, Scholz said that the import of Russian energy carriers is “extremely important” for Europe, and a ban on it would put Europe’s energy security at risk.
Biden, responding to a question about the possibility of a ban on the import of Russian oil, said that “nothing has been removed from the agenda,” but White House press Secretary Jen Psaki stressed that this issue is still under discussion, and no decision has been made on it yet.
Meanwhile, Blinken promised that the United States, together with its allies and NATO partners, will continue to support Ukraine. First of all, by increasing security assistance to help Ukraine protect itself. In addition, humanitarian aid to the Ukrainian people is increasing, both to those who are in Ukraine and to those who were forced to flee.
The Foreign Minister stressed: “We are increasing the costs of the Kremlin and all those who help and support the continuation of this war. We are also strengthening our common defense. We and our NATO allies are ready to meet any threat.”
Blinken said that over the past two weeks, President Biden has allocated an additional $ 350 million to Ukraine for defense and that “most of this money has already arrived in Ukraine and is being used very effectively against Russian aggression.”
In addition, a few days ago, Biden appealed to Congress with a request for additional emergency assistance to Ukraine in the amount of $ 10 billion.
Blinken assured that “these 10 billion dollars, which I think Congress will provide very quickly, will go to additional security assistance to Ukraine. They will go to humanitarian aid to Ukraine, both inside and outside Ukraine, and to further efforts to strengthen NATO’s eastern flank.”