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Antony Blinken will meet with allies in Brussels to discuss actions against Russia

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks to members of the media, before departing for Brussels from Joint Base Andrews, in Maryland, on Tuesday.
POOL/AFP via Getty Images
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks to members of the media, before departing for Brussels from Joint Base Andrews, in Maryland, on Tuesday.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken is in Brussels to oversee the U.S. investigation into the Kremlin's war crimes against Ukraine. While in Europe, he will also meet with G-7 members and NATO foreign ministers to discuss potential additional punitive actions against Russia.

The United States aims to hold Russian President Vladimir Putin accountable for war crimes Russian troops are accused of committing against Ukrainian citizens. Blinken is in Europe to ensure evidence is collected for future trials after reports and photographs of mass graves and civilian executions in Bucha surfaced last weekend.

Russian forces retreated from Kyiv's border towns late last week, but U.S. officials anticipate they are regrouping. The U.S. believes the Kremlin will reposition military units in the southern and eastern parts of Ukraine.

With the conflict likely far from over, NPR's Michele Kelemen reports that Blinken and NATO allies will likely discuss how to put additional pressure on Putin in the coming days. President Joe Biden has mentioned additional sanctions against Russia on multiple occasions, but Europeans rely heavily on Russian energy.

Blinken promised another wave of security assistance for Ukraine to the tune of $100 million.

The secretary will also meet with foreign ministers from Japan and Australia to discuss China's growing military presence. The U.S. and its British and Australian allies, a military partnership known as AUKUS, announced they are pushing for cyber defense and hypersonic munition developments, The Associated Press reported.

Hypersonic weapons are capable of bypassing current missile defense systems, which Russia has used on multiple occasions in Ukraine and are in testing phases in China. The Russian military boasted one of its hypersonic systems can travel 27 times faster than the speed of sound.

Next year's Pentagon budget requested $4.7 billion dedicated to hypersonic weapons research and development.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Dustin Jones is a reporter for NPR's digital news desk. He mainly covers breaking news, but enjoys working on long-form narrative pieces.