MUNICH – Vice President Kamala Harris told the Munich Security Conference on Saturday that the Western alliance faces a “defining moment” in the Ukraine crisis and warned Russia’s leaders that if they invading Ukraine, the United States and its allies will not only target financial institutions and export technology to Russia, but also “conspirators and those who aid and direct the unscrupulous invasion of Russia.” this excuse”.
The speech was Ms. Harris’ first foray into the whirlwind of diplomacy and signaling around a high-value international crisis, so every word – and how she delivered it – was watched. cautiously.
Her text closely resembles the message Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken delivered Thursday at the United Nations. “This book is so familiar to all of us,” she said of events taking place near the Ukrainian border. “Russia will beg ignorance and innocence. It will create fake outposts for the invasion, and it will accumulate troops and firepower in plain sight. “
“Russia continues to state that it is ready for negotiations, while at the same time narrowing down diplomatic avenues,” Harris said. “Their actions simply do not match their words,” a phrase that French officials have also used to condemn Russian President Putin’s threatening posture.
The vice president is scheduled to meet Saturday afternoon with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, who is flying to Munich for several hours at a time when his country faces the most serious threat of outright invasion. in history. Several Biden administration officials expressed concern about his trip to Germany, saying they expected Russia to announce that he had fled the country. Some worry about whether Moscow will try to prevent his return.
But in meeting Ms. Harris and speaking at the conference, where he last appeared two years ago to talk about cracking down on corruption and bolstering Ukraine’s economy, Mr. Zelensky hoped to be immersed in a moment. briefly in the arms of promised partners. to support him but have said that they will not send troops to face the Russian army.
Harris argued in her speech that the crisis has brought NATO allies closer together. “As President Biden has said, our forces will not be deployed to fight inside Ukraine,” she said, touching on — but not probing — the decision to engage the Ukrainian army. “But they will defend every inch of NATO territory.”
Later, the vice president added, “our strength must not be underestimated.”
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/19/world/europe/kamala-harris-ukraine-russia.html Kamala Harris says West faces ‘defining moment’ over Ukraine