The US government made clear its intentions to impose sanctions with “serious economic consequences” against Russia if there is a military aggression in Ukraine. Meanwhile, Moscow launched new military maneuvers in the territory of Crimea, annexed by Russia, with at least 6,000 soldiers, fighter planes, bombers and a naval presence in the Black Sea and the Caspian.
This Tuesday, January 25, US President Joe Biden made clear the position of the United States regarding the conflict with Russia in Ukraine and assured that “he does not intend to deploy US or NATO forces in Ukraine.”
However, he warned that a Russian invasion of Ukraine would have “serious economic consequences” and that his government is ready to impose sanctions against Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
Despite mounting threats from the West, Russia has carried out a series of military exercises just hours after Moscow accused the United States of “exacerbating” tensions when it placed 8,500 US troops on “high” alert.
Thus, both the United States and Russia mutually attribute responsibility for increasing the risk of a confrontation in Ukraine, despite the fact that both parties insist that they have no plans to send troops to the European country.
Macron: Europe prepares a “common response” if Russia attacks
The President of France, Emmanuel Macron, assured in a press conference together with the German Chancellor Olaf Scholz that the European Union is “united” in trying to favor a “de-escalation in the region”, but that “there will be a response and it will have a high cost. ” for Moscow “if an aggression occurs.
Macron also assured that he would speak with Putin next Friday. In addition, in Paris it will be where Kiev and Moscow will talk on Wednesday, in order to achieve agreements that reduce tensions.
The high representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell, warned for his part that the old continent is experiencing “the most dangerous moment” since the Cold War.
Amid the crisis, the United States and Europe are seeking to present an image of unity: Biden held a video conference of more than an hour on Monday with European and NATO allied leaders, assuring that there was “total unanimity” on how to deal with Russia.
“I had a very, very, very good meeting: total unanimity with all the European leaders,” Biden told local media after the video call.
The United States has intensified during the day the shipment of weapons to Ukraine, a decision that is added to the 200 million dollars that the US government will send to Kiev in the form of “equipment and ammunition to strengthen the defensive capacity of the Ukrainian armed forces” .
Ukraine is a country seen as the center of the geopolitical chessboard between West and East. With its location, at the gates of Russian territory, it is seen by the United States and the European Union as a strategic and military ally.
But Moscow’s fury boils over Kiev’s plans to join both NATO and the European Union. Russia has made sure to make its security demands known, mentioning that it needs as a guarantee that Ukraine is never allowed to join NATO, as well as the withdrawal of forces from the military alliance of Eastern European countries that are joined the bloc after the Cold War.
Although Ukraine is not a member of the military alliance, it has shown its inclination towards the bloc that has offered full support to preserve the sovereignty of the former Soviet republic.
The United States and NATO rejected Russia’s demands and warned that an attack on Ukraine would trigger economic sanctions and a reinforced presence of the alliance in the area.
Another possible invasion?
In 2014, after the ouster of Ukraine’s then president, Viktor Yanukovych, who was close to the Kremlin in Kiev, Russia annexed the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea and supported the separatist insurgency in eastern Ukraine.
Russia has repeatedly accused Ukraine of massing troops near rebel-controlled border regions, with the aim of retaking them by force.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky has denied the accusations and has repeatedly called for direct talks with Moscow to end the war.
Clashes between Moscow-backed rebels and Ukraine’s security forces have killed more than 14,000 people and efforts to reach a peaceful settlement have stalled.
After the Russian annexation of Crimea, NATO reinforced its presence in the east with the deployment in 2017 of four battle groups in Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
With AP, EFE and Reuters.