Antony Blinken, US secretary of state, said he did not see “any signs” that Vladimir Putin was “prepared to stop” the war in Ukraine, as he poured cold water on hopes of a diplomatic settlement and vowed that US officials would investigate war crimes committed by Russian forces in the country.
“From where I sit, diplomacy obviously requires both sides engaging in good faith to de-escalate. And I don’t see signs right now that Putin is prepared to stop,” Blinken said from the State Department in Washington on Thursday.
“The actions that we’re seeing Russia take every single day, virtually every minute of every day, are in total contrast to any serious diplomatic effort to the war,” he continued.
In his remarks, Blinken laid out what he thought Putin’s next moves might be, including the use of chemical weapons, the deployment of pro-Russian mercenaries, and the kidnapping of local officials to be replaced with pro-Russian puppet leaders.
A day after US president Joe Biden said he thought Putin was a “war criminal”, Blinken also attacked Moscow for its increasingly gruesome assaults on civilian targets in the country.
“Intentionally targeting civilians is a war crime. After all the destruction of the past few weeks, I find it difficult to conclude that the Russians are doing otherwise,” he said.
Blinken continued: “Our experts are in the process of documenting and evaluating potential war crimes being committed in Ukraine. We’ll make sure that our findings help international efforts to investigate war crimes and hold those responsible accountable”.