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Tension escalates and NATO warns Russia against an eventual invasion of Ukraine

NATO has little doubt that Russia is preparing a possible invasion from Ukraine. Meeting this Tuesday in Riga, the capital of Latvia, the foreign ministers of the member states of the Atlantic Alliance issued a warning to Moscow: Russia will pay in the form of harsh sanctions for any military attack or new attempt to destabilize its neighbor Ukraine.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken launched: “Any escalation on the part of Russia would be very worrying for the United States and any new aggression would cause serious consequences”.

The NATO Secretary General, the Norwegian Jens Stoltenberg, had already said on Monday that “Russian intentions are unclear but there is an unusual concentration of forces for the second time this year ”.

Stoltenberg explained that this concentration of troops and military material (heavy armor, drones, electronic warfare systems, tens of thousands of soldiers) shows that Russia is “preparing to fight”. Blinken backed Stoltenberg: “We have already seen the Russian strategy several times. They dedicate themselves to creating provocations to justify an intervention ”.

A Ukrainian soldier near the Russian border. AFP photo

The Kremlin denies it

Moscow, which already forcibly annexed the Ukrainian province of Crimea in 2014 and since then has supported the separatists in southeastern Ukraine with men and weapons, denies that it is preparing an attack on Ukraine.

Russian diplomacy repeats that it has every right in the world to move its military means as it sees fit within its territory. That right is not unlimited because all the countries of the continent, Russia too, have military transparency obligations based on the agreements signed in the framework of the OSCE to build trust between them.

NATO’s reaction was the main topic at the foreign ministers’ table. Stoltenberg reduced possible retaliation to the political and economic framework by explaining that no matter how friendly Ukraine is, it is not a member state of the western military alliance.

No European country seems willing to lose soldiers to defend the streets of Kiev. But there would be economic sanctions. NATO’s strategy focuses on showing Russia that it would pay a high economic price if it invaded Ukraine and on making that threat credible.

Stoltenberg believes that such an answer would be sufficient: “We have demonstrated this in recent years in response to previous cases of recourse to the use of force by Russia against Ukraine. We can impose heavy economic and financial sanctions but also politicals “. European capitals are tempted for clothes.

Russian President Vladimir Putin denies plans to attack Ukraine.  Photo EFE

Russian President Vladimir Putin denies plans to attack Ukraine. Photo EFE


A military invasion of Russia on Ukraine could not pass as a whim of Vladimir Putin but economic sanctions, so that they really do harm to Russia, would involve damage also in Europe.

Some diplomats go so far as to advance that some NATO member countries, on their own if not on behalf of the Alliance, could help Ukraine with weapons, but in addition to could be a more symbolic help that enough to change the military forces on the ground, it is a hypothesis that no capital is shown, at least in public, willing to advance.

Poland had asked last week, during the visit of its president Andrzej Duda to NATO headquarters in Brussels, that the Atlantic Alliance deploy more armed units on its eastern flank. to deter Russia.

Stoltenberg did not give him a clear answer at the time and the foreign ministers did not make up their minds on Tuesday either. NATO has several units deployed since 2015 in the small Baltic republics, Poland and Romania.

Will Putin attack? The Russian president has everything ready and the western capitals threaten retaliation if he takes the step. Washington assures that “all options are on the table”, but in that line he leaves behind the capitals of the old continent, far from moving a single soldier to help Ukraine.

The diplomacy consulted in Brussels ensures that it is impossible to know what the Russian president intends to do, but that it is possible to establish since his Armed Forces they have put on the ground all the tools to attack Ukraine if Putin gives the order.

The Russian president could attack or continue simmering Ukraine under pressure from tens of thousands of men and military equipment a few tens of kilometers from its border.

No contacts between Russia and NATO ever since the Atlantic Alliance expelled the remnants of Russian diplomacy accredited to its headquarters and Moscow did the same with the few NATO representatives accredited to the Belgian Embassy in Moscow.



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