Antony Blinken says ‘US doesn’t bluff’ and warns Putin of ‘massive unprecedented consequences’ for Ukraine war

Russian president Vladimir Putin “gravely miscalculated” by invading Ukraine and will now face “massive, unprecedented consequences” from the US and its allies, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said during remarks on Wednesday.

“President Putin may have assumed that the US and our allies were bluffing when we warned of massive unprecedented consequences but as President Biden likes to say, big nations can’t bluff,” he said. “The US doesn’t bluff and President Putin has gravely miscalculated.”

The threat is a similar to one made by Vladimir Putin in recent days. The Russian leader has raised his country’s nuclear forces to high alert in response to what he’s called “aggressive statements” by Nato.

“To anyone who would consider interfering from outside: If you do, you will face consequences greater than any you have faced in history. All the relevant decisions have been taken. I hope you hear me,” Mr Putin said last week, when he publicly announced the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The US has been adamant that, barring any unforeseen developments, it won’t put troops on the ground in Ukraine or use American personnel to secure a no-fly zone in Ukrainian airspace.

“Let me be clear, our forces are not engaged and will not engage in conflict with Russian forces in Ukraine,” president Joe Biden said on Tuesday night during his State of the Union address. “Our forces are not going to Europe to fight in Ukraine, but to defend our NATO allies – in the event that Putin decides to keep moving west. Every single inch.”

The US is likely to keep on its current course of actions against Russia: a mix of heavy sanctions and other measures meant to isolate Putin from the international community, such as closing US airspace to Russian flights.

On Wednesday, Mr Blinken added that the war in Ukraine had sent roughly 174,000 people fleeing as refugees, a conflict that would eventually turn the Russian people against Putin as well.

“This is President Putin’s war,” Mr Blinken said. “This isn’t the Russian people’s war. It’s becoming clearer by the day that the Russian people oppose it.”