Russia bets on Ukraine with the West

Russia is increasingly betting on Ukraine in a showdown with the West, with a top diplomat saying it would not exclude Russian military deployments to Cuba and Venezuela if tensions with the United States escalate.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, who led the Russian delegation to Monday’s talks with the US in Geneva, said in televised remarks that he would neither confirm nor rule out the possibility that Russia would attack Cuba and Venezuela by military. property can be sent.

Talks in Geneva and Wednesday’s NATO-Russia meeting in Vienna failed to close the gap on Moscow’s security demands between the build-up of Russian troops near Ukraine.

While Moscow sought to halt NATO expansion, Washington and its allies strongly dismissed them as a non-starter.

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US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov attend security talks at the United States Mission in Geneva on Monday (Dennis Ballybous/Pool via AP)

Speaking in an interview with Russian RTVI TV, Mr Ryabkov said that “it all depends on the actions of our American counterparts”, adding that President Vladimir Putin has warned that Russia may take military-technical measures. If America provokes Moscow and turns on the military, the pressure on it.

Mr Ryabkov said the refusal by the US and its allies to consider the key Russian demand for guarantees against the expansion of the coalition in Ukraine and other ex-Soviet countries raises doubts about the continuation of talks.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov noted “some positive elements and nuances” during the talks, but called them “failed” because of disagreements over Russia’s key demands.

“The talks were initiated to get specific answers to concrete key issues, and disagreements on those key issues persisted, which is bad,” he said in a conference call with reporters.

Mr Peskov warned of a complete breakdown in US-Russian relations if the adoption of the proposed sanctions targeting Mr Putin and other top civilian and military leaders.

The measures proposed by Senate Democrats would also target major Russian financial institutions if Moscow sends troops to Ukraine.

Mr Peskov criticized the proposals during the talks as an attempt to increase pressure on Moscow, saying it would not work.

It is hardly possible for NATO to direct us where we should move our armed forces on Russian territoryKremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov

“It pertains to sanctions, which effectively amount to an initiative to sever ties, taking into account the inevitable substantial response,” he warned, adding that Russia is trying to protect its interests in ways will answer.

The talks take place near Ukraine’s eastern border in the form of an estimated 100,000 battle-ready Russian soldiers, tanks and heavy military equipment.

The build-up has caused deep concern in Kiev and in the West that Moscow is preparing to invade.

Russia denies that it is considering an invasion and instead accuses the West of endangering its security by deploying military personnel and equipment in Central and Eastern Europe.

Mr Peskov rejected Russia’s calls for the West to help defuse tensions by pulling back troops from areas near Ukraine, noting that the country is willing to move them wherever necessary on its territory. is free to.

“It is hardly possible for NATO to direct us where we should move our armed forces on Russian territory,” he said.

Mr Peskov underscored that Russia is ready to continue the talks but wants them to produce results.

“There will be no lack of political will to continue the talks,” he said.

The risk of war in the OSCE region is now greater than it has been in the past 30 yearsPolish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rouse

Tensions around Ukraine and Russia’s demands on the West were re-introduced at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) meeting in Vienna on Thursday.

Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau, who assumed the position of President-in-Office of the OSCE, noted in his inaugural speech that “the risk of war in the OSCE region is now greater than ever in the last 30 years”.

“For several weeks, we have been facing the prospect of a major military escalation in Eastern Europe,” he said.

“We have recently heard renewed discussions about the demand for security guarantees and areas of impact relating to a significant portion of the OSCE region. All these aspects require serious international assessment and appropriate response.”

Mr Rau stressed the need to “focus on the peaceful resolution of conflict in and around Ukraine … in full respect of Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and unity within its internationally recognized borders”.

In 2014, Russia occupied Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula after ousting its Moscow-allied leader and threw its weight behind a separatist insurgency in the country’s east, where more than 14,000 people died in more than seven years of fighting. have been killed.

A peace deal signed by France and Germany in 2015 has largely helped end fighting, but skirmishes continue and efforts to negotiate a political settlement have failed.