Addressing Russia, Blinken Says Only Strong Ukraine Can Bring Peace

(MENAFN- The Peninsula) AFP

Helsinki: America's top diplomat on Friday insisted that a strong Ukraine in control of its own territory was a prerequisite for talks with Russia, warning against a "Potemkin" or fake peace through a ceasefire.

In a speech in Finland, which after Russia's invasion of Ukraine shed its historic prudence and joined NATO, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the war launched by President was a "case study in failure".

"When you look at President Putin's long-term strategic aims and objectives, there is no question: Russia is significantly worse off today than it was before the full-scale invasion," Blinken said in Helsinki City Hall before a stage of US flags.

"Where Putin aimed to project strength, he has revealed weakness. Where he intended to divide, he has united," he said.

Blinken earlier in the week also visited Sweden to champion the Nordic country's own bid to join NATO -- the Western alliance whose potential embrace of Ukraine was cited by Putin as a reason for the war, which has killed tens of thousands of people.

Blinken delivered the speech in hopes of laying down a firm US position, as he predicted rising calls for a ceasefire or peace deal after Ukrainian forces launch a vaunted counter-offensive.

"Precisely because we have no illusions about Putin's aspirations, we believe the prerequisite for meaningful diplomacy and real peace is a stronger Ukraine -- capable of deterring and defending against any future aggression," Blinken said.

"Investing in Ukraine's strength is not at the expense of diplomacy -- it paves the way for it," he said.

A ceasefire that freezes in place Russia's gains would be a "Potemkin peace," he said.


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