Anthony Blinken: Under Obama, the U.S. was fully prepared to join the negotiations in “Norman format”

Former US Deputy Secretary of state and former national security Advisor to President Barack Obama, Tony Blinken in an interview with TV channel “112 Ukraine” at the Summit on cybersecurity talked about US ready to connect to the “Normandy format” talks on sanctions against Russia and whether the impeachment trump

Exclusive interview with Elina Beketova for the TV channel “112 Ukraine”

Mr. Lloyd, let\’s start with the Russian intervention in the American elections. The latest information that appeared in the media: Russian hackers attacked the 39 States. There are, in General, the chances that there will be such a system of cyber security that will make impossible such cases in the future?

– We in Kiev to discuss this topic. This global summit on cybersecurity are very important. This is a global problem that affects countries not only USA, but also, in particular, Ukraine. She was probably one of the first countries to victims of hacker attacks. We see cyber attacks on important infrastructure facilities, energy, banks, hospitals. Moreover, in our opinion, our moral system is also carried out cyber attacks. Thus try to influence what we think and what we believe, and undermine our confidence in institutions and leaders. It is even more dangerous. Talk about it all to speak and to seek solutions to this problem.

– What are the implications of Russian intervention in the American elections for the administration to trump?

Are all questions of investigation in the United States that now are, and what the results will be – and get it. I hope all of us, including my administration will take seriously the threat of cyber attacks from Russia and other countries. It is a desperate attempt to undermine the credibility of our institutions, confidence in our leaders and confidence in democracy. If we don\’t stop, we will have serious problems.

– An ongoing debate, particularly in American society, how likely is the impeachment of President trump. Do you think this is real?

– Continue the investigation. The facts will lead wherever they lead. Hope we get results soon. And then we can concentrate on such issues, particularly as the threat of cyber attacks from Russia.

– Concerning the bill to impose new sanctions against Russia. If you will be introduced sectoral sanctions, what will be the political and economic effect for the United States?

– To continue the sanctions is very important. This is for a simple reason. There is a way to end this horrible war in Ukraine, and this – Minsk agreement, however imperfect they may be. Unfortunately, Russia has chosen the path constantly not to implement their commitments under the Minsk agreements, as it doesn\’t force the separatists to fulfill their obligations. As a result, sanctions must stay until Minsk until this process is completed. I hope that Russia will choose the path to end the conflict, and the easy way – “Minsk”. Until this is done, the sanctions should remain in force. About the additional sanctions the fact that Russia interfered in American elections, is a separate issue, but is also very important.

– In the administration of the President of trump until now, there is no person who would deal with the issue of Ukraine. For example, Victoria Nuland of President Obama\’s administration. Who can become such a person and when he/she appears?

– I can\’t speak for the current administration, but we have a very strong Ambassador of the USA in Ukraine, which is focused on this issue, her team focused on this. The Secretary of state Tillerson also focused on this issue. I hope the administration will support the continuation of sanctions will bring Russia to fulfil its commitments under the Minsk agreements. If so, this would be it. But it\’s up to Russia if she wants to stop this conflict or not.

Speaking about the format of talks on Donbas, there is “channel”, there are others. Will I be able to join US to any of them?

– Again, can\’t reply fully to this question, because I\’m not in the team of the presidential administration. If our European partners – Germany and France – wants the US was part of this process, we need to be part of this process. And I think that our voice will be important and effective. But it all matters to the administrations of Germany, France, Ukraine, as well as Russia.

– That is, if Germany and France will say, we need the USA, then America will agree?

– I hope so. During the administration of President Obama we were completely ready to join this process, if our European partners want it. At that time we more or less moved in parallel. We are constantly “compare notes” so to speak. We talked all the time. But if the French or the Germans decide that it would be helpful if we will be part of this process, it will be good. I hope we\’ll do it.

– That would be a red line? The escalation in the Donbas?

– Unfortunately, we have seen the escalation of the conflict, the violence in the Donbas is only growing. I saw these figures, it is very dangerous. And any misunderstanding, an accident can cause even more conflict. People need to be careful. But the numbers are still growing. And that\’s a concern. I think that the world\’s attention is riveted to other things, and these are the separatists and the Russians. I think we should focus on what is happening in the Donbas. And try to stop the conflict.

– What are the priorities for the United States: Syria or Ukraine?

– Several priorities at once. But, of course, Syria is number one. But Ukraine remains on the agenda. Well that sanctions remain unchanged, the EU States support it. And that\’s what puts pressure on Russia to do what it should.

– So sanctions could be broadened and deepened?

– Yes, it is upsetting, especially Ukrainians who have to live with it every day…. There is a road map to end the conflict, but Russia is re-selecting the way to implement this roadmap. I think that this pressure should increase, so in the end to obtain what you need.

– And last question. Who are now our allies in the Senate and Congress like Biden and McCain?

– There is a big support for Ukraine in the us Senate and Congress. Starting with people like John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Chairman of the Committee on foreign Affairs Corker, and Democrat Ben Cardin. There is a lot of support, and it does not disappear.