Russia warned by U.S., NATO as military buildup stokes fear of Ukraine invasion

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said during a news conference in Kiev on Friday that Ukraine is ready to face Russia if Moscow decides to move troops across the border.

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President of Ukraine Press Service/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

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BRUSSELS (AP) – NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg warned Russia on Friday that any attempt to invade Ukraine will be at a cost, as concerns mount about Russian military build-up near the borders of its former Soviet neighbour.

Ukraine says Moscow held about 90,000 troops near its common border after massive war games in western Russia earlier this year. Ukraine’s defense ministry said units of the Russian 41st Army remained near Yelnya, some 260 kilometers north of the border.

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Moscow denies that it is planning any offensive and refuses to give details about military activities on its territory.

“If Russia uses force against Ukraine, there will be consequences,” Stoltenberg said ahead of a meeting of foreign ministers of the 30-nation military organization in Latvia on November 30 and December 1. High on the agenda he did not say what those costs would be.

From the archives (September 2021): US pledges $60 million in military aid to Ukraine as Biden meets with Zelensky

“This is the second time this year that Russia has assembled an unusually large number of forces in the region,” Stoltenberg told reporters. This includes tanks, artillery, armored units, drones and electronic warfare systems, as well as combat-ready troops, he said.

“This military buildup is unprovoked and unclear. It increases tensions and it risks making miscalculations,” Stoltenberg said. He acknowledged that “there is no certainty about Russia’s intentions” but added that “this is a military build-up by a country that has previously invaded Ukraine.”

,,[National-security adviser Jake] Sullivan underscored the unwavering commitment of the United States to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.’,


National Security Council statement

Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula in 2014 after the country’s Moscow-friendly then-president was ousted from power by mass protests. Weeks later, Russia threw its weight behind the separatist insurgency spreading east of Ukraine.

From the archives (March 2021): G-7 reprimands Russia for annexing Crimea

Ukraine and the West accused Russia of sending its troops and weapons to support the rebels. Moscow denied this, saying that the separatists were Russian volunteers. More than 14,000 people have been killed in the fighting that devastated the Donbass, Ukraine’s eastern industrial region.

A 2015 peace deal brokered by France and Germany largely helped end fighting, but efforts to reach a political settlement have failed and sporadic clashes continue along the tense line of contact.

NATO will not be able to provide Ukraine with any significant military aid against Russian forces in time, so the use of economic measures such as Western sanctions is more likely to impose financial costs on Moscow.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Friday alleged that his country’s intelligence service uncovered plans for a Russian-backed coup in Ukraine next week, which the Russian government denied.

National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan talking to reporters in October.

CHIP SOMODEVILA/GETTY IMAGES

US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan spoke with Andrey Yermak, the head of the presidential administration in Ukraine, on Friday. National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horn said in a statement that the two discussed their shared concerns about ongoing Russian military activity along the Ukrainian border and agreed that all sides should make diplomatic efforts to defuse tensions. needed.

“Mr. Sullivan underscores the United States’ unwavering commitment to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine,” the statement read.

From the Archives (December 2019): Ukraine’s Zelensky on US military aid: ‘If you’re our strategic partner, you can’t block anything for us’

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