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Russia threatens retaliation if Ukraine’s request is not met by the US, NATO – NBC Chicago

Russia warned on Wednesday that it would quickly take “retaliatory measures” if the United States and its allies rejected their security demands and continued “aggressive” policies, putting pressure on West amid concerns that Moscow is planning an invasion of Ukraine.

Russia has repeatedly denied it has any such design, but the United States and its NATO allies are worried because Russia has sent about 100,000 troops near the Ukrainian border and launched a series of war games in the region. area.

At the heart of the standoff are questions about Ukraine’s future: Russia has demanded guarantees that NATO will never admit the country and that other former Soviet states are members and that the alliance will return. military deployments in other former Soviet states. Some of these, like membership pledges, have no effect on NATO, creating a seemingly incurable stalemate that many fear could only end in a war.

Addressing lawmakers on Wednesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said he and other top officials would advise President Vladimir Putin on next steps after receiving a written response from the United States. about requirements. Those answers are expected this week – although the US and its allies have made it clear that they will reject Russia’s top demands.

“If the West continues its aggression, Moscow will take the necessary retaliatory measures,” he said.

While Russia is currently waiting for an answer from the US, Foreign Minister Lavrov said it will not wait forever: “We will not let our proposals drown in endless discussions,” he said.

When asked by lawmakers if Russia could expand military cooperation with Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua, Lavrov replied that Moscow has close relations with these countries. Earlier this month, Lavrov’s deputy minister adamantly refused to rule out the deployment of Russian military assets to Cuba and Venezuela – closer to the US than Ukraine – if Moscow’s security requirements were not met.

This week, NATO said it was strengthening its deterrence capability in the Baltic Sea region, and the United States ordered 8,500 troops on heightened alert about possible deployment to Europe. Western countries have also sent aircraft carrying weapons to help Ukraine strengthen its defenses.

Amid escalating tensions, Ukrainian officials sought to calm nerves.

Ukraine’s Deputy Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said that although the concentration of Russian troops near Ukraine poses a threat, “their numbers are not currently sufficient for a large-scale offensive”.

“They are still missing a number of key military elements and systems to launch a large-scale attack,” Kuleba told reporters.

As others have done, he notes that causing alarm can be self-destructive. Russia hopes to destabilize Ukraine, he said, by “sowing panic, putting pressure on Ukraine’s financial system and launching cyberattacks”.

“President Putin will be happy to see that plan succeed and he doesn’t even need to resort to military force to put Ukraine in a vulnerable position,” he said.

His comments are the latest from Ukrainian officials who have sought to reassure their citizens. Speaking late Tuesday in his second televised address to the nation in days to come, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Ukraine is “strong enough to keep everything under control and derail any attempt to intended to destabilize”.

Several rounds of high-profile diplomacy have failed to yield any breakthrough in the stalemate, but another attempt was underway on Wednesday.

Advisers to the presidents of Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany will meet in Paris to discuss ways to revive a stalled peace deal in eastern Ukraine.

In 2014, after ousting a Kremlin-friendly president in Kyiv, Moscow annexed Ukraine’s Crimea Peninsula and gave weight to a separatist insurgency in the country’s eastern industrial heartland. Fighting between Ukrainian forces and Russian-backed rebels has left more than 14,000 people dead and efforts to reach a settlement have stalled.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Moscow expected a “frankly nice” talk at the meeting in Paris.

In addition to military moves, the US and its allies have threatened ever more sanctions if Moscow sends troops into Ukraine, but they have offered some details, saying it is best left to Putin to guess.

On Tuesday, US President Joe Biden told reporters that Putin “continues to build up forces along the Ukrainian border,” and that an attack “would be the largest invasion since World War II. It will change the world. He warned that there would be severe economic consequences for Putin, including personal sanctions, in the event of an invasion.

Asked to comment on Mr. Biden’s statement, Mr. Peskov pointed out that the Russian President and other top officials have no assets in the West but reaffirmed that such US sanctions would ” political sabotage” to bilateral relations.

Britain is also promising sanctions and Foreign Minister Liz Truss has urged European nations to do more to support Ukraine.

The UK has sent anti-tank weapons to Ukraine, although it has ruled out sending troops to the war.

She told the BBC: “We are going to legislate to toughen our sanctions regime and make sure that we are fully able to attack individuals, companies and banks in Russia in the event of a disaster. incident”. “It’s important that all of our allies do the same.”

Amid rising tensions, the US, UK, Australia, Germany and Canada have also moved to withdraw some diplomats and their dependents from Kyiv.

https://www.nbcchicago.com/news/national-international/russia-threatens-retaliation-if-ukraine-demands-not-met-by-us-nato/2738963/ Russia threatens retaliation if Ukraine’s request is not met by the US, NATO – NBC Chicago

DUSTIN JONES

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