“Russia must pay a high price”
The situation on the border with Ukraine has been tense since the deployment of Russian troops, and fears of a military “accident” have been growing. NATO leader Jens Stoltenberg warns of an invasion of Moscow. But Vladimir Putin’s strategy is already working.
ATensions between NATO and Moscow are escalating as Russian troops deploy more than 100,000 troops on the Ukrainian border, about 2,000 kilometers from Berlin. From the perspective of the Western Security Alliance, since Russia annexed the Ukrainian-occupied Crimean Black Sea Peninsula in 2014, Moscow has never been at risk of occupying more parts of Ukraine.
At a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Riga, Latvia on Wednesday, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said there was “evidence” that Moscow was pursuing “plans to destabilize Ukraine from the inside through large-scale military action.” “We do not know whether President Vladimir Putin decided to invade. But if he decides to do so, we know he will create the conditions for doing so in the short term.
Blinken continued: “We have made it clear to the Kremlin that we will act decisively.” This includes “many useful economic activities that we have avoided so far in the past.”
German Foreign Minister Heiko Moss (SPD) has announced that NATO will trigger a “crisis mechanism” due to the movements of Russian troops and can act quickly and decisively to any intensity. NATO leader Jens Stoltenberg warned: “Russia will have to pay a heavy price if it takes military action again against Ukraine’s independence.”
NATO military experts are very worried that the tense situation on the border between Russia and Ukraine could lead to an “accident” – for example, an accidental shooting or a military vehicle accidentally crossing the border – which could soon lead to a military confrontation between Ukraine. And Moscow. Thousands of heavily armed soldiers are stationed relatively close on both sides of the border.
NATO experts say the Ukrainian military domestically is much better trained and armed than it was in 2014, so it could provide more resistance in the event of a possible invasion. However, it is clear that NATO will not intervene in the case and will be left alone because Ukraine is not a member of the coalition. Germany and France in particular have so far blocked joining.
According to unconfirmed information from the Russian Foreign Ministry, the Ukrainian army has now deployed heavy equipment, 125,000 troops and “half of the Ukrainian troops” in the eastern part of the country near the Russian border.
Meanwhile, Russian President Putin continued to put pressure on NATO. On Wednesday, he called on the West to “make special agreements on NATO’s operations in the east and to keep the armed forces threatening our territory close to Russia.”
Stoltenberg, indirectly angry, rejected this request for a guarantee that it would not expand to the East. He described Ukraine as a “free and sovereign country.” The elected government in Kiev can decide for itself about its partners and its policies.
Tensions are running high that a summit between Putin and US President Joe Biden could take place in a few weeks. Putin has achieved an important goal: he wants to be a dialogue partner on par with the most powerful politicians in the Western world. Meanwhile, Washington is considering providing air defense systems to Ukraine.
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