US Secretary of State Antony Blinken reiterated on Saturday that the United States is “seriously concerned” with Russia’s actions and statements regarding Ukraine, where tensions are rising.
“We have serious concerns about unusual Russian military activities on the Ukrainian border. We are really concerned about some of the rhetoric we see and hear from Russia as well as on social media,” Blinken said at a press conference in Dakar, Senegal, where he takes the last step of his first visit to Africa.
According to Blinken, the concerns are “widely shared” by US allies, although he has not said whether US intelligence services think Russian President Vladimir Putin would like to take Ukrainian territory.
“We don’t know what President Putin’s intentions are. But we know what happened in the past. We know the strategy consistent with creating illusory provocations in Ukraine or any other country and using them as an excuse for Russia’s plans,” said the chief of US diplomacy.
BlinKen was referring to the 2014 crisis in Ukraine, which emerged after the fall of the pro-Western government in Kyiv.
That same year, Moscow annexed the Ukrainian peninsula from Crimea, in response to what it called a pro-Western revolution.
The Donbass region of eastern Ukraine has been through a war since 2014 that has claimed more than 13,000 deaths between Kyiv forces and pro-Russian separatists, who are backed by the Kremlin, despite Russia’s denial.
On Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the West of fueling rising tensions on Ukraine’s eastern borders and the Black Sea.
Putin also accused Western bombers of approaching 20 kilometers from Russian territory.
On this first trip to Africa, the US government elected three countries (Kenya, Nigeria, and Senegal).