April 23, 2024

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Ukraine | The Kremlin accuses Washington of escalating and launching new maneuvers

(Moscow) Russia launched new military maneuvers near Ukraine on Tuesday, just hours after accusing the United States of “escalating tensions” by keeping thousands of U.S. troops on alert in annexed Crimea.

Released at 6:19 p.m.
Updated at 8:37 p.m.

Antoine Lambroskini
French Media Company

The Russians and Westerners are blaming each other for triggering the crisis, at the risk of provoking a major conflict in recent weeks. However, despite the lack of results, diplomatic efforts continue.

About 6,000 troops, fighter jets and bombers are involved in the Russian exercises announced on Tuesday. They take place in southern Russia, especially near Ukraine, and in the Crimean peninsula, which was annexed in 2014.

Moscow, which has stationed tens of thousands of troops near Ukraine in recent months, last week announced naval maneuvers in the Atlantic, Arctic, Pacific and Mediterranean, as well as joint exercises with Belarus on EU borders.

At noon on Tuesday, the Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called the United States’ “deep concern” after placing 8,500 troops in a warning on Monday that it could strengthen NATO’s rapid reaction force of 40,000 troops. No decision has been made on hiring them.

Mr. According to Pesco, Washington is raising a new “tension” the day before the announcement of the departure of the families of US embassy officials from Ukraine, according to the United States, due to the imminent danger of a Russian invasion. .

Kiev is due to receive new supplies, including “equipment and ammunition,” from the United States on Tuesday, according to the U.S. embassy, ​​as part of a $ 200 million aid package from the White House.

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Ukrainian officials on Tuesday ordered the removal of a group preparing for armed attacks on the country’s territories, especially on the Russian border, on Moscow’s orders.

NATO has announced that it is preparing troops and sending ships and warplanes to strengthen its defenses in Eastern Europe, while Russia views its allied troops around it as an existential threat.

– Reply this week

Westerners accuse Moscow of stationing more than 100,000 troops on the Ukrainian border for a possible attack.

Russia rejects any offensive plan, but specifically minimizes expansion with agreements guaranteeing NATO not to expand.

These demands are considered as unacceptable in Europe as in the United States, but they say they take Moscow’s security concerns seriously and want to negotiate solutions.

After a round of talks, Washington is due to submit a written response to Russian demands this week. But at the same time, US President Joe Biden has stepped up pressure to keep troops on alert.

However, this hardening came as a surprise to some European leaders who were anxious not to provoke the Kremlin.

French President Emmanuel Macron, who is scheduled to meet with German Chancellor Olaf Scholes in Berlin on Tuesday, said he would like to pave the way for his Russian President Vladimir Putin to “slow down growth” in the coming days. The Kremlin confirmed an interview within the week.

Paris is also holding a high-level meeting of advisers on Wednesday with Germany, Russia and Ukraine to try to revive the format of dialogue that has stalled since 2015.

Serious consequences

The United States has assured Europeans that it has “no difference” with the sanctions imposed on Russia during the invasion of Ukraine or the urgency of the threat.

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Mr. Biden also held a video conference with European Union and NATO leaders on Monday.

To get out of the crisis, Russia is seeking legitimate texts not to expand NATO and to withdraw Atlantic Alliance forces and weapons from Eastern European countries after 1997.

Moscow has promised “very serious consequences” if its “legitimate concerns” are ignored.

In the event of an invasion, Westerners offer unprecedented sanctions. But the Kremlin has always shown that it is not sensitive to this kind of revenge.

A series of options were prepared by the European Commission. Russia’s reduction in gas and oil purchases is being investigated, a European source told AFP, but the issue divides Europeans.

On the US side, Joe Biden plans to ban Russian banks from using the dollar, which could have a devastating effect on the country’s economy.