By Reena Bhardwaj
WASHINGTON: The United States reacted to Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to Moscow by saying that it is the responsibility of every “responsible” country to voice objection to Russia’s actions in Ukraine. The US has informed Pakistan about its position on the situation in Ukraine, the US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said on Wednesday.
“We’ve communicated to Pakistan our position regarding Russia’s further renewed invasion of Ukraine and we have briefed them on our efforts to pursue diplomacy over war,” Price said during a press briefing when asked about Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s scheduled meeting with Russians President Vladimir Putin in Moscow. The United States views its partnership with Ukraine as critical to US interests, Price added.
Pakistani Prime Minister left for Moscow on Wednesday to meet President Vladimir Putin and discuss issues including economic cooperation comes hours after the US and a number of Western nations hit Russia with new sanctions for its military deployment into parts of eastern Ukraine. Also on the agenda will be the two counties and their mutual concerns in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan and regional security cooperation.
Khan is the first foreign leader to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin after Russian troops entered the separatist regions of eastern Ukraine amid the escalating crisis between Russia and the West. Khan’s visit to Moscow–the first by a Pakistani Prime Minister in 23 years–has been in the works for a while, but by going ahead as planned, experts see this as an implicit Pakistani endorsement of the Russian leader’s actions. Earlier today President Joe Biden moved ahead with sanctions on the company in charge of building Russia’s Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline after blocking such measures last year using a national security waiver.
“Today, I have directed my administration to impose sanctions on Nord Stream 2 AG and its corporate officers. These steps are another piece of our initial tranche of sanctions in response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine. As I have made clear, we will not hesitate to take further steps if Russia continues to escalate,” Biden wrote in a statement. The move is part of a series of penalties the US and its allies have imposed on Russia this week in response to Putin’s recognition of separatist territories in eastern Ukraine as independent. On Monday, Putin signed a decree recognizing the independence of the breakaway people’s republics of Donetsk and Luhansk. Following this, Biden announced its first tranche of sanctions on Russia and affirmed its support to Ukraine. (ANI)
Prime Minister Imran arrived in Russia late on Wednesday on a two-day visit to push for the construction of a long-delayed, multi-billion-dollar gas pipeline to be built in collaboration with Russian companies.
The prime minister’s trip to meet President Vladimir Putin and discuss issues including economic cooperation came hours after a number of Western nations hit Russia with new sanctions for its military deployment into parts of eastern Ukraine.
During a briefing on Wednesday, Price was asked by a reporter what the State Department’s assessment was of the timing of PM Imran’s visit. Saying the US was “certainly aware” of the trip, the spokesperson said, “We believe it’s the responsibility of every responsible country around the world to voice concern, to voice objection to what Putin appears to have in mind for Ukraine.”
Price said the US viewed its longstanding partnership and cooperation with Pakistan as critical to America’s interests.
“We certainly hope, when it comes to those shared interests — the aversion of a costly conflict, the aversion of a destabilising conflict, that every country around the world would make that point clearly in unambiguous language in their engagements with the Russian Federation,” he added.