Sec of State has series of calls regarding Russian aggression

Secretary of State Anthony Blinken had a series of phone calls with world leaders about the Russian Federation's aggression in Ukraine. The State Department also issued a statement regarding the closing, by Russia, of the International Memorial and Memorial Human Rights Center in the country that honored victims of political crimes in Russia over the centuries.

Secretary Blinken spoke with Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio, Canadian Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly, and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, discussing the Allied nation's responses to Russian aggression in Ukraine. In each case, the leaders reiterated their commitment to impose "severe costs" on Russia if they further invade Ukraine.

At present, there are 100,000 Russian troops massed on the border with Ukraine. International fears have been heightened recently that the Federation would reassert its control over the nation that acts as a buffer between Russia and NATO countries.

The U.S. also issued a joint statement with the U.K, Australia, Canada, and the European Union indicating their displeasure at two Russian courts’ decisions to close down the International Memorial and the Memorial Human Rights Center.

“For more than three decades,” a written statement said. “Memorial has fulfilled a unique role in documenting historical crimes and recovering for posterity the memory of the tens of millions of victims of political repression in the country. Memorial has also advocated tirelessly for the protection of human rights in Russia, exposing appalling abuses, including in the North Caucasus, and maintaining a growing list of individuals it considers to be political prisoners.”

The move to close the Memorial is seen as further erosion of human rights in the country.

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