Washington D.C., Jan 19: As tensions in Ukraine rise, the USA has issued a very stern warning about Russia. The US said that Russia can invade at any moment.
In a clear escalation of the tensions over Ukraine, the United States warned on Tuesday that Russia could, at any point, attack Ukraine. But while terming it an “extremely dangerous” situation, Washington kept the doors for diplomacy open with Moscow – with US secretary of state Antony Blinken speaking to his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, and both leaders agreeing to meet in Geneva this week.
White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin for having created the crisis by amassing 100,000 Russian troops along Ukraine’s border, and added, “This includes moving Russian forces into Belarus recently for joint exercises and conducting additional exercises on Ukraine’s eastern borders. Let’s be clear.
Our view is that this is an extremely dangerous situation. We are now at a stage where Russia could, at any point, launch an attack in Ukraine…That’s more stark than we have been.”
Psaki reiterated the US position that Russia would face “severe consequences” if it chose not to pursue the diplomatic path.
Blinken will first visit Ukraine – where, according to a senior state department official, he planned to emphasise “US support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine”. He will then visit Germany – where, according to the same official, Blinken will continue intensive consultations with European allies and partners “as part of our unified response to Russia’s actions”.
On Friday, he will meet Lavrov in Geneva. The senior official said, “The United States does not want conflict. We want peace. President Putin has it in his power to take steps to de-escalate this crisis so the United States and Russia can pursue a relationship that is not based on hostility or crisis.”
In recent weeks, US officials have stepped up their warnings over Russian actions. Recent talks held between the US and Russia bilaterally in Geneva, between NATO and Russia in Brussels, and under the auspices of the Organisation of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) – of which both US and Russia are members – in Vienna failed to break the stalemate.
The latest trigger for the crisis is Russian troop movement to Belarus. A second senior state department official said, “Reports of Russian troop movements towards Belarus, which these movements are supposedly under the auspices of regularly scheduled joint military exercises, are concerning. The timing is notable, and of course raises concerns that Russia could intend to station troops in Belarus under the guise of joint military exercises in order, potentially, to attack Ukraine from the north.”