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In Munich Speech, Blinken Declines to Define Victory In Ukraine

In a speech at the Munich Security Conference, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken did not specify how the U.S. would define victory in Ukraine, emphasizing that outcomes legitimizing territorial seizures by force should be avoided. He left the stance on Crimea ambiguous, highlighting it as a decision for Ukraine. Blinken had previously indicated in a private meeting that Ukraine’s attempt to reclaim Crimea could provoke a significant Russian retaliation. The Western coalition’s unity was a central theme, with discussions on potential war outcomes. Ukraine’s Foreign Minister, Dmytro Kuleba, outlined his vision for a Ukrainian victory: restoration of territorial integrity, compensation for damages, and accountability for war crimes, emphasizing the need for a lasting peace ensuring Russia poses no future threat. Blinken criticized Russian cease-fire proposals as potentially strategic pauses for Russia to regroup, and cautioned against any military assistance or sanction evasion by China in support of Russia, saying that Washington “would view any provision of military assistance or evading sanctions as a very serious problem for us and for many other countries around the world.”