Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned Russia on Tuesday against taking “escalating actions” with Ukraine, threatening “serious consequences” as more than 90,000 of Putin’s troops gathered at the border.
His comments, made at a joint press conference with Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs in Riga, come amid growing concerns that Russia could re-invade Ukraine as it builds up troops along the border.
Concerns over Russia’s build-up will be discussed at NATO ministerial meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday.
‘The increasingly combative rhetoric, the recent build-up of forces. His unusual troop movements along the border with Ukraine,” Blinken said, adding: “I’ll have a lot more to say about that tomorrow, after having a chance to discuss with our allies at NATO meetings this afternoon. are started.’
He continued: “For now, let me reiterate that Russia’s escalating actions are a major concern for the United States, as it is for Latvia, and that any renewed aggression could have dire consequences.”
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg called Moscow’s build-up on the border “unprovoked and unexplained.”
“Any future Russian aggression against Ukraine would come at a high price and have serious political and economic consequences for Russia,” she said.
Vladimir Putin has sent some 94,000 troops to the Ukrainian border and the White House has warned Europe to brace for an invasion that would dwarf the annexation of Crimea in 2014.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned Russia against taking ‘escalating actions’ with Ukraine and threatened with ‘serious consequences’.
A map shared with Military Times earlier this month and replicated above shows Ukrainian intelligence bracing for a bloody and brutal invasion that could capture parts of Ukraine in an attack that ended the 2014 annexation of Crimea. it wouldn’t.
This satellite image released by Maxar Technologies, taken on November 1, 2021, shows Russian tanks, armored personnel carriers and support equipment amid the presence of a large ground force deployment on the northern outskirts of the city of Yelnya, Smolensk Oblast, Russia
Putin promised to protect Russia’s “red lines” but downplayed any threat of invasion, saying similar allegations were made earlier this year.
But Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy last week said his country’s intelligence had uncovered plans for a Russian-backed coup. Russia denied the claim, rejecting the claim that it plans to invade Ukraine.
The new build-up follows a similar surge in the spring, when Russia mustered about 100,000 troops on Ukraine’s borders but later announced a setback.
Putin said Moscow was concerned about Western moves to hold large-scale, previously unannounced military exercises near Russia’s borders, single-handing the US-led exercises in the Black Sea.
Separately, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov issued a series of new accusations against Kiev, saying that Russia reserves the right to respond if its security is threatened.
“We simply do not have the right to rule out the possibility of the Kiev regime embarking on a military adventure. All of this poses a direct threat to Russia’s security,” Lavrov told reporters, speaking with his Brazilian counterpart Carlos Franca.
“If the West cannot restrain Ukraine, but on the contrary instigates it, then of course we will take all necessary steps to ensure our reliable security.”
An aircraft performs a flight during military exercises of the Ukrainian Air Assault Forces in the Zhytomyr region, Ukraine November 21, 2021
A Russian-backed separatist holds a machine gun in a frontline trench outside the rebel-held city of Donetsk, Ukraine
A Ukrainian soldier participates with a tank in exercises in Ukraine’s Kherson region, November 17, 2021
Russian troops board landing craft after exercises in Crimea
Lavrov said Ukrainian military maneuvers and the use of drones in the east of the country, owned by pro-Russian separatists, posed a threat to Russia and it was ready to respond if necessary.
“We simply cannot rule out the possibility that Kiev will embark on a military adventure,” he said at a press conference in Moscow.
“President Putin stressed that we do not need conflict, but if the West cannot stop Ukraine – and encourage it on the contrary – we will of course take all necessary steps to ensure our security.”
Last week, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russia was sending out “very dangerous” signals with troop movements on the border, warning its army was ready to push back any offensive.
Moscow, which took Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and supports separatists in Kiev, has strongly denied plotting an attack and blamed NATO for fueling tensions.
The conflict in the east has claimed more than 13,000 lives since 2014.