Russia will suffer ‘long, bloody, drawn-out mess’ in Ukraine, says Blinken

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken predicted Russian occupation would result in strategic failure for Moscow

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken holds a joint press conference with British Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss at the State Department in Washington. AFP
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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken predicted on Wednesday that Russia will suffer a “long, bloody, drawn-out mess” as it proceeds with its invasion of Ukraine.

Mr Blinken added that the war would become a strategic failure for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“If his goal is to impose some kind of puppet regime by displacing the existing government and putting in place one to his liking, I think it’s pretty evident by the response of the Ukrainian people that they will never accept that if he tries to enforce such a puppet regime by keeping Russian forces in Ukraine,” Mr Blinken said at a press conference in Washington alongside UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss.

“It will be a long, bloody, drawn-out mess through which Russia will continue to suffer grievously.”

He added that the US and its Nato allies would continue to support the Ukrainian military while exerting economic pressure on Russia to persuade Mr Putin to “change course”.

“The measures that we’ve taken have erased 30 years of progress integrating Russia into the world,” said Mr Blinken.

“This dramatic exodus of virtually every international company from Russia as we speak is having a profound impact — not just today — but over the long term.”

For her part, Ms Truss called for a full ban on Russian banks from the Swift financial system and a halt to Russian energy imports among all members of the G7, the group consisting of the world’s largest advanced economies.

Several Russian banks have already been banned from Swift, restricting their access to much of the global economy. French Finance Minister Brun Le Maire has described a Swift ban as a last resort, likening it to a “financial nuclear weapon".

Ms Truss added that the UK has vowed to halt Russian energy imports by the end of the year and touted the London’s announcement on Wednesday that it would supply Ukraine with its Starstreak air defence system.

However, both Mr Blinken and Ms Truss firmly highlighted their countries’ limits over support to Ukraine for fear of sparking a broader conflict between Russia and Nato's nuclear-armed powers.

They both firmly rejected Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s call for a no-fly zone over the embattled country.

Ukrainian president says Russian shelling plans are ‘deliberate murder’

Ukrainian president says Russian shelling plans are ‘deliberate murder’

“The reality is that setting up a no-fly zone would lead to a direct confrontation between Nato and Russia,” said Ms Truss. “And that is not what we are looking at.”

Mr Blinken also said that the US and its allies would have to “work through” an arrangement to ensure that Ukraine receives the fighter jets that Mr Zelenskyy had requested after Poland blindsided Washington with a proposal to do so this week.

The Pentagon has called that proposal “not tenable”.

Without consulting Washington, Poland announced on Tuesday that it would had over 28 Soviet-designed MiG-29 fighter jets into US custody at Nato bases in Germany for their eventual transfer to Ukraine — a proposal that Mr Blinken said raises “serious concerns".

“It’s not clear to us as to the rationale for doing it in the way that was put forward yesterday,” said Mr Blinken.

“What we’re doing right now is consulting mostly with Poland, with other Nato allies on this and the logistical challenges.”

Updated: March 10, 2022, 6:26 AM