Additional Measures Against the Russian Financial System

28 Feb

Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

In coordination with our allies and partners, the United States is taking further measures today against the Russian financial system in response to Russia’s continuing premeditated war against Ukraine.  Unwavering in our support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, we will continue to act with our allies and partners in imposing costs on Russia if it continues its war of choice.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has prohibited any U.S. person from conducting any transaction involving the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, the National Wealth Fund of the Russian Federation, or the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation. In addition, OFAC imposed blocking sanctions on the Russian Direct Investment Fund, a known slush fund for President Putin and his inner circle, two of its subsidiaries, and CEO Kirill Dmitriev.

We took today’s actions to impair Russia’s ability to use its international reserves in ways that undermine the impact of our sanctions, as well as to prevent Russia from accessing its wealth fund for use in its ongoing war against Ukraine.

The United States will continue to coordinate closely with our partners and allies to impose severe consequences on Russia for its war against Ukraine.  We share with our partners and allies unity of purpose, resolve, and determination to hold Russia to account for its aggression, particularly those responsible for this war of choice.

Suspending Operations at U.S. Embassy Minsk and Change in Status for U.S. Embassy Moscow

28 Feb

Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

The U.S. Department of State has suspended operations at our Embassy in Minsk, Belarus and authorized the voluntary departure (“authorized departure”) of non-emergency employees and family members at our Embassy in Moscow, Russia. We took these steps due to security and safety issues stemming from the unprovoked and unjustified attack by Russian military forces in Ukraine.  The Department of State continually adjusts its posture at embassies and consulates throughout the world in line with its mission, the local security environment, and the health situation. We ultimately have no higher priority than the safety and security of U.S. citizens, and that includes our U.S. government personnel and their dependents serving around the world.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Report

28 Feb

Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

The report today from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is a reminder that the climate crisis threatens us all, in every region of the world and across every sector of the economy.  It also demonstrates why the international community must urgently continue to pursue ambitious climate action, even as we face other pressing global challenges.

We know the significant risks climate change poses to our health and safety, and we know the climate plays a decisive role in shaping the trajectory of peace and prosperity in the world.  While political and economic decisions are the primary drivers of conflict, climate change will increase as a threat to global and local stability.

The IPCC report underscores the ways climate impacts are affecting lives and livelihoods globally now.  The report reflects scientists’ increased confidence that the harm already being experienced as a result of climate impacts will worsen as the world continues to warm, with growing adverse effects on economies, ecosystems, and human health.

Importantly, the IPCC report concludes that effective adaptation measures can help build a more resilient global society in the near term and beyond. The report also emphasizes that solutions are most effective when they prioritize inclusion and equity in planning and implementation and work across all levels of government.

The IPCC’s findings reinforce the importance and urgency of work already underway across the U.S. government to implement President Biden’s Emergency Plan for Adaptation and Resilience (PREPARE), the cornerstone of the U.S. government response to addressing the increasing impacts of the global climate crisis.  PREPARE will bring together the United States’ diplomatic, development, and technical expertise to help more than half a billion people in developing countries adapt to and manage the impacts of climate change by 2030.

Approval of this report is the result of more than five years of work by hundreds of scientists from the United States and around the world to comprehensively assess what is known about the global impacts of and vulnerabilities to climate change.  I commend the many expert contributors to this report, which has provided us with a comprehensive and authoritative synthesis of knowledge about global climate change impacts, vulnerability, and adaptation.

The United States is committed to continued participation in IPCC activities and to the rigorous use of scientific information as a foundation for action to address the threats from climate change.

Special Representative for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea Kim’s Calls with Republic of Korea Special Representative Noh and Japanese Director General Funakoshi

28 Feb

Office of the Spokesperson

The following is attributable to Spokesperson Ned Price:

On February 26, Special Representative for the DPRK Sung Kim held calls to discuss the DPRK’s February 26 ballistic missile launch with Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs Director General for Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau Funakoshi Takehiro and ROK Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs Noh Kyu-duk.

Special Representative Kim condemned the launch, which violated multiple UN Security Council resolutions and presented a serious threat to regional stability.  Special Representative Kim underscored the United States’ continued commitment to close trilateral coordination with our Japanese and ROK allies and readiness to engage in serious and sustained diplomacy with the DPRK.  He reaffirmed the shared goal of complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and ironclad U.S. commitment to the defense of the ROK and Japan.

Why Won’t Republicans Condemn Trump’s Praise for Putin?

28 Feb

As CPAC comes to a close today, we have just one question: Why did Republican leaders spend the last four days refusing to condemn Donald Trump’s shameless praise for Vladimir Putin? 

When asked about the defeated former president calling Putin “savvy” and “genius,” Republican leaders flat out refused to condemn Trump’s words and performed verbal gymnastics to avoid offering any form of criticism:

Ted Cruz

Josh Hawley

Rick Scott

CBS News’s Robert Costa: “Should Trump condemn the Russian invasion when he speaks at CPAC tonight? Even out of power, he remains a central figure in many GOP races nationwide.

@CBSNews⁩ asked Sen. Rick Scott, head of Sen Rs’ campaign arm. 

‘We all’ should. 

Trump?

‘That’s a decision’ for him.

Kristi Noem

“Q: Do you endorse Trump’s comments on Putin?

NOEM: “I don’t think Putin is a dummy. He certainly is a man who has been strategically planning this for years, waiting for an opportunity. President Biden kicked the door open for him…”

Tom Cotton

NBC News’s Sahil Kapur: “Asked three times, Sen. Tom Cotton refuses to condemn Trump’s praise of Putin. ‘I don’t speak on behalf of other politicians.’”

HuffPost’s Igor Bobic: Cotton repeatedly declines to condemn Trump’s praise of Putin, saying he ‘doesn’t speak for other politicians’  Stephanopoulos notes that wouldn’t be an issue if Democratic president said same thing

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Under Secretary Uzra Zeya Travel to Geneva

28 Feb

Office of the Spokesperson

Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights Uzra Zeya will travel to Geneva, Switzerland, February 28-March 2 for the high-level segment of the 49th Session of the UN Human Rights Council.  While in Geneva, Under Secretary Zeya will meet with diplomatic partners and heads of international humanitarian organizations.  The Under Secretary will reinforce the centrality of human rights in our foreign policy, the unwavering U.S. commitment to humanitarian support for those suffering from Russia’s brutal further invasion of Ukraine, and the importance of protecting civilians and holding those responsible for human rights violations and abuses accountable.

For updates follow @UnderSecStateJ  on Twitter.

Secretary Blinken’s Call with G7 Foreign Ministers and Ukraine Foreign Minister Kuleba

28 Feb

Office of the Spokesperson

The below is attributable to Spokesperson Ned Price:

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken spoke today with the G7 Foreign Ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the High Representative of the European Union.  They were joined by the Foreign Minister of Ukraine to discuss the global response to Russia’s premeditated, unprovoked, and unjustified attack on Ukraine.  The Secretary and G7 foreign ministers underscored to Ukrainian Foreign Minister Kuleba their unified response to Russia’s invasion.  Together we are supporting the Ukrainian people and imposing severe costs and consequences to hold Russia accountable for its war of choice.  We stand with Ukraine and recognize the bravery and heroism of the Ukrainian people.

Briefing Security Council on Syria’s Chemical Weapons Programme, Disarmament Chief Says Violations of International Law Cannot Continue to Go Unaddressed

28 Feb

Syria’s declaration of its chemical weapons programme still cannot be considered accurate and complete due to identified gaps, inconsistencies and discrepancies that remain unresolved, the United Nations disarmament chief told the Security Council today, as delegates, including from the Russian Federation and the United States, sparred over the fact-finding mission’s report.