Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday denounced Russia’s efforts to “weaponize winter,” labeling its efforts to knock out power and infrastructure in Ukraine as “barbaric.”
Speaking to host Jake Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Blinken said Russian President Vladimir Putin has adopted scorched-Earth tactics because his armed forces have failed to achieve its earlier conquest goals in the war against Ukraine.
“Putin tried to erase Ukraine from the map, erase its identity, subsume it back into Russia. That failed,” Blinken said. “Then he engaged in a land grab, in eastern Ukraine and southern Ukraine. That’s been failing because the Ukrainian military has been pushing back and taking back a lot of the territory that Putin gained.
“To your point, what he's doing is trying to weaponize winter, turn out the lights, turn off the heat, put the Ukrainian people into darkness and cold just as they head into the winter months. This is indeed barbaric.”
He added: “We’re pushing back very strongly in our support for Ukraine.”
Tapper asked Blinken if the United States and its allies were making Russia pay enough of a cost for its behavior.
“The costs are accumulating every single day,” Blinken said, citing the impact of ongoing sanctions on Russia's war effort and its economy.