US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said March 8 that Russia’s call for a return to “peaceful coexistence” with the United States is “making a mockery of that word through its aggression on Ukraine.”
Speaking in the Estonian capital Tallinn, Blinken said “if Russia wants to engage in peaceful co-existence, which, of course in principle, we welcome, it has to start by making good in the word peaceful and ending the war, the aggression it is committing in Ukraine.”
The Secretary of State was on a tour of East European capitals in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine on February 24.
Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas, speaking at a joint press conference with the American Secretary of State raised a theme discussed in other Baltic capitals — that NATO should move from deterrence to “defense” In the region by increasing its permanent presence both in terms of troops and military technology.
In order for all of the elements of defense to work together, she said more military exercises in the region would be necessary
Kallas also cautioned against showing signs of softening any of the sanctions in place against Russia. “Russia expects us to step back soon, we must prove them wrong,” she said.
Both Blinken and the Estonian prime minister indicated that a total energy embargo against Russian gas and oil exports was still problematic. “When it comes to a Russian oil and gas embargo, there are different European countries who are not in an equal amount dependent on Russian gas and oil, and If everyone has to be on board, then we have to find alternatives for those countries,” Kallas said.
Blinken said the issue of an oil and gas embargo had been discussed in the Biden administration and also with officials in France, the United Kingdom and Germany and the same time trying to maintain a steady supply of energy to Europe.
At the same time, he stressed that there was “an imperative” for European countries to move away from dependance on Russian energy because “Russia uses it as a weapon.”
The Secretary of State spoke in the Estonian capital before US President Joe Biden later on March 8 announced an embargo on Russian oil…