Blinken knocks Kremlin crackdown on speech in Russia Day message
Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday called for Russian President Vladimir Putin to forge a path toward peace and unity, making the plea on Russia Day, which celebrates the end of the communist Soviet Union bloc and the beginning of the nation’s democracy. Blinken said amid the war in Ukraine, the Kremlin has led a brutal crackdown on its own citizens, who “deserve to live their lives free of repression and to be able to exercise their human rights and fundamental freedoms without fear of retribution. “Too many Russian citizens are behind bars for the ‘crime’ of speaking truth to power about their government’s actions,” Blinken said in a statement. “Russia’s government is attempting to keep its citizens in the dark about the atrocities it is committing against the people of Ukraine,” Blinken added.
Russian forces are currently pushing to capture the eastern Donbas region of Ukraine, but face stiff resistance from NATO-backed Ukrainian defenders. Meanwhile, at home, Russia has swept up protesters and jailed opponents and critics of the war under a new security law that prohibits anyone from criticizing the nation’s armed forces or referring to the invasion as a war. On June 12, 1990, Russia broke free from the Soviet Union and emerged about a year later as the Russia Federation along with its first democratically elected president. Blinken on Sunday connected the observation of Russia Day to the current state of Russia, which he said is slipping back into the ironclad rule of the Soviet Union at the cost of a free and democratic society.
“On this Russia Day, we recognize the desires of the people of Russia who still seek – as they did in June 1990 – freedom and dignity, often at great personal risk,” he said. For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to The Hill.
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