Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday said Russia's most recent shelling of Ukraine's capital and most populous city had no reason other than to "terrorize" residents of Kyiv.
In an interview on CNN's "State of the Union," Blinken decried missile attacks that according to Reuters killed one person and wounded six more on Sunday as Moscow stepped up air strikes on Ukraine for a second day.
"We've seen sporadically, ever since [President Vladimir] Putin lost the battle for Kyiv and had to shift his focus to eastern and southern Ukraine, that they've occasionally launched missiles at a distance, basically to terrorize people," Blinken said.
"They struck an apartment building. There are reports they struck a kindergarten. That has no purpose other than to terrorize the Ukrainians," he asserted.
He also touted the "profound impact" of economic bans on Russia by the United States — including a recent ban on Russian gold imports.
"Denying access to about $19 billion of revenue a year … is significant," he said. "But beyond that, everything that we've done from the start in imposing these unprecedented sanctions and the export controls is having a profound impact on Russia. Even as it gets oil revenues with higher prices, it's unable to spend them because of the export controls.
"It can't acquire what it needs to modernize the defense sector and the energy exploration which means over time, each of these areas is going to go in decline."
"Already we're seeing predictions that the Russian economy will shrink by 8% to 15% next year," he said.
Blinken also defended President Joe Biden's decision to meet with Saudi Arabia's Mohammed bin Salman next month.
"When it comes to Saudi Arabia… we needed to recalibrate the relationship, to make sure that it more effectively reflected our own interests, our own values. But not rupture it," he said.
"When it comes to the relationship broadly, Saudi Arabia has been an important partner, and critical to helping end what has been one of the worst wars and atrocities in recent memories — that's the war in Yemen," he added. "By most accounts, that's the worst humanitarian situation on earth and that's saying something. Saudi Arabia's engagement has been absolutely critical to getting what we haven't had for eight years, which is a truce."
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