in any new Russian invasionThere will be “serious consequences”, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Tuesday during a visit to Latvia, where NATO foreign ministers gathered to discuss the recent build-up of Russian troops near the Ukrainian border. In recent weeks, the U.S. And Stayed Russia, gathering troops near its border with Ukraine, worried that an offensive or escalation of the seven-year-long conflict in the volatile eastern region of the Donbass could be on the horizon.
Blinken called the Russian military’s movements “unusual” and said any aggressive action by Russia would be of “great concern” to the United States.
Russian officials said reports of a military build-up were unfounded and in turn accused NATO of considering Russia as its backyard.
The country’s top diplomat, Sergei Lavrov, attacked the coalition for deploying a significant amount of military hardware near Russia’s borders and said Moscow could respond to security threats from Western countries and Ukraine if necessary.
“The fact that we are being accused of conducting military exercises on our sovereign territory by countries that are bringing large amounts of troops and military equipment from overseas to our borders and the fact that the United States has given us its With the army surrounded from all sides the base is something that every schoolboy knows,” Lavrov said on Tuesday.
“And yet this frenzy continues to be whipped up,” he said, referring to concerns voiced by Western leaders about a military offensive towards Ukraine.
Newly appointed Ukrainian Defense Minister Alexei Reznikov suggested the current buildup is “most likely” linked to a potentially upcoming virtual meeting between President Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin, which the Kremlin has said is in the works and from the end of the year. May be earlier. , On Friday, Mr Biden told reporters he expected to speak to Putin and the president of Ukraine“It seems that.”
“I think we’ve been at war for the last eight years,” Zelensky said during a press conference last weekend. But when it comes to being full-blown. [offensive] … I think some of the media today is getting scared on that matter.”
Kyrlo Budanov, the head of Ukraine’s military intelligence, said more than 90,000 Russian troops were stationed around Ukraine, a small number compared to similar tensions last spring.
Analysts say the Kremlin will benefit little if an all-out war breaks out, which would sever ties with the international community already.
The escalation is largely seen as a sign that Putin is attempting to recreate the “red lines” when it comes to Ukraine and what Russia sees as the old European security system.
“The expansion of NATO has shaped the politico-military landscape in which we live today,” Fedor Lukyanov, chairman of Russia’s Foreign and Defense Policy Council, wrote in an op-ed. “Maintaining such an attitude is fraught with suffering, and to part with it … requires the revision and establishment of a new system of ‘red lines’.”
On Tuesday, Putin confirmed that he sees the expansion of NATO military infrastructure in Ukraine as a line he will not cross.
“First and foremost, it is about creating threats to us, which could come from the region … if Ukraine would have missile strike systems, would be able to reach Moscow within 7-10 minutes, or If they are hypersonic missiles in five minutes, what should we do?” Putin said while addressing an investment forum in Moscow.
“We have to do something similar against those who threaten us like this,” Putin said.