Addressing the situation in Kazakhstan, where Russian forces are helping to put down violent protests, Secretary of State Antony Blinken suggested that inviting President Vladimir Putin to send military help is the easy part. "One lesson of recent history is that once Russians are in your house, it's sometimes very difficult to get them to leave," Blinken said Friday in Washington. Russia's foreign ministry answered Saturday, calling that a "typically offensive" remark, Reuters reports, and accusing Blinken of making light of the ongoing violence in Kazakhstan.
The Russians suggested the US look inward, at its interventions in Vietnam, Iraq, and elsewhere. "If Antony Blinken loves history lessons so much, then he should take the following into account: when Americans are in your house, it can be difficult to stay alive and not be robbed or raped," the ministry posted on social media. The post said Russia has learned not just from the recent past, but from "all 300 years of American statehood." This exchange comes just before US-Russia talks about the situation at the Ukraine border, scheduled to begin Monday in Geneva, per the AP.
Blinken had been trying to make the point that the crises in Kazakhstan and Ukraine aren't comparable. But they might be connected, said Fiona Hill, formerly of the US National Security Council. The chaos in Kazakhstan, she said, "is probably going to accelerate Putin's desire to do something" in Ukraine. Russian presence in both places gives Putin a chance to show regional dominance, she said. A Republican congressman said helping in Kazakhstan could spread the Russian military too thin to invade Ukraine. “I don’t see Russia with the capability of handling two crises simultaneously,” said Rep. Mark Green. “I think it will deter their ability to wage a major conflict in Ukraine.” (Read more Antony Blinken stories.)