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US warns Russian of ‘prompt’ response over ‘reckless action’

WASHINGTON, DC USA: The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said the his country will respond to ‘reckless’ or ‘aggressive’ acts by Russia.

Antony Blinken said the US was focused on actions such as the treatment of opposition figure Alexei Navalny, the Solar Winds hack and election interference.

“We would prefer a more stable and predictable relationship,” he said while speaking to an international radio service. Blinken was in the UK for a meeting of foreign ministers of the G7 group of industrialised nations.

A statement issued after the two-day talks criticised Moscow for its “irresponsible and destabilising behaviour”, particularly against Ukraine, and for cyber-attacks.

Back in February US President Joe Biden said, in more headline-grabbing terms, that he had made it clear to President Vladimir Putin “that the days of the United States rolling over in the face of Russia’s aggressive actions… are over.”

His predecessor Donald Trump had at times seemed to avoid criticising the Russian leader.

Blinken said the Biden administration was not trying to hold China back, stressing that the US was in favour of upholding a rules-based international system.

He said countries needed to look very carefully to see if China was investing in their strategic assets.

On Afghanistan, Blinken insisted that the US was “staying in the game” and would remain engaged with the country despite its troop withdrawal. The Biden administration has announced that the last US soldiers will leave by September.

Blinken said regional powers might have to “step up” and use their influence and try to keep the country on a positive path.

Meanwhile, the top United States diplomat will visit Kyiv on Thursday in a show of support after Russia amassed troops near Ukraine’s eastern border in a weeks-long standoff that drew concern in Western nations.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken is expected to meet President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and urge the country to stick to a path of reforms and fighting corruption, days after a reformist energy official was sacked. US President Joe Biden pledged “unwavering support” to Zelenskyy in April as Kyiv and Moscow traded blame for clashes in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region and Russia deployed troops and weapons to the border.

Moscow announced a withdrawal of its forces on April 22, helping pave the way for a summit between Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin that could take place as early as June.

The standoff prompted Ukraine to call for the US and Europe to help speed up Kyiv’s entry into the NATO military alliance. Blinken discussed Russia’s troop build-up at a meeting with NATO allies in Brussels last month, the Reuters news agency reported.