The United States will tighten sanctions against Russia at a NATO summit this week, US Under Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Karen Donfried warned on Tuesday.
“Yes, of course we can do more,” Donfried said when asked if the United States would commit to more sanctions against Russia at Thursday’s NATO meeting. “We continue to do more,” she added during the POLITICO 28 – Class of 2022 dinner.
Donfried admitted that the United States was “very concerned” about the possibility of Russia using chemical weapons. Asked if the use of such weapons in Europe would be a red line for the United States, she warned that Washington had “made it clear that if Russia chose to invade Ukraine further, it would face with massive consequences”.
Pressed on whether Western allies would heed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s calls to introduce a no-fly zone over Ukraine, Donfried said a no-fly zone would involve shooting down Russian planes, and that “would surely lead to direct military engagement between the United States and Russia which we want to avoid in the interests of global stability.” .
Donfried also defended the steps taken by Western allies after Russia invaded Ukraine. She said actions on both sides of the Atlantic were “not just words”, adding that there was “an immediate response through sanctions, export controls” and that these measures were ” unprecedented”.
“They weren’t even considered in 2014 when Russia took over Crimea,” she added.
donfried said US President Joe Biden’s trip to Brussels for the NATO meeting and an EU summit was about “transatlantic solidarity”.