The US chief of staff has warned of the consequences of a Russian invasion of Ukraine. Now Boris Johnson, who is under considerable pressure at home, intervenes.
London/Washington/Kiev – According to government circles, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson wants to travel to the region in the coming days in view of the tense situation between Russia and Ukraine.
Johnson is to be accompanied by Secretary of State Liz Truss, it said on Friday evening. An exact destination was not mentioned. He also wanted to phone Russian President Vladimir Putin. Meanwhile, the US government warned in drastic terms of the consequences of a possible Russian invasion. But one does not believe that President Putin has made the final decision to use the forces concentrated near the border with Ukraine, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said on Friday at the Pentagon.
troops and diplomatic efforts
According to President Joe Biden, the USA will soon move additional US troops to the Eastern European NATO countries because of the Ukraine crisis. According to reports from journalists traveling with him, Biden restricted it to “not too many” soldiers. Biden spoke on Thursday evening (local time) in Washington upon returning from a visit to the state of Pennsylvania. He did not specify how many soldiers there might be. On his orders, 8,500 soldiers in the United States were put on increased readiness on Monday to enable rapid transfer if necessary. Biden had emphasized that it was a precautionary measure to address concerns of Eastern European NATO members. No US soldiers would be sent to Ukraine.
A Downing Street spokeswoman said on Friday that Prime Minister Johnson was determined to speed up diplomatic efforts and use deterrence “to avoid bloodshed in Europe”. Johnson will urge Russia to withdraw and return to the negotiating table. In addition, according to information from government circles, there are to be further sanctions against Russia from the British side. The exact time of the trip and the phone call was initially unclear.
In view of a massive Russian troop deployment near Ukraine, there are fears in the West that the Kremlin could be planning an invasion of the neighboring country – Moscow denies this to move towards concessions on new security guarantees. Efforts to defuse the conflict have been going on for weeks.
Macron and Putin
On Friday, French President Emmanuel Macron and his Russian counterpart Putin discussed the conflict and agreed on the need for de-escalation. This was announced from Élysée circles after the phone call. In order to reduce tensions, bilateral talks between the heads of state should be continued – as well as the negotiations to solve the Ukraine crisis in the Normandy format, in which Germany and France mediate.
In the conversation, Putin reiterated Russian demands for binding guarantees for security in Europe, as the Kremlin announced. These include an end to the expansion of NATO and the renunciation of offensive weapons near the Russian borders.
Germany consults with the USA
Germany’s Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht (SPD) called her US colleague Lloyd Austin on Friday. The two ministers stressed that they support Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, the US Department of Defense said. In addition, Lambrecht and Austin agreed that Russia would have to reckon with serious consequences if it invaded Ukraine.
US Chief of Staff Mark Milley warned of numerous civilian casualties in Ukraine in the event of a Russian invasion. “Throughout Ukraine there are many people and very densely populated centers,” said Milley, citing the capital Kiev as an example. “And if war should break out on the scale that is possible, the civilian population will suffer extremely.” Should the combined Russian forces attack Ukraine, “it would result in a significant number of casualties. And you can imagine what that would look like in dense urban areas, along streets and so on and so forth. It would be appalling, it would be awful.”
Milley said Russia had massed more than 100,000 troops on the border with Ukraine. An attack could therefore take place “with very, very little warning”.
The chairman of the foreign affairs committee in the Bundestag, Michael Roth, warned in the “Passauer Neue Presse” (Saturday) that “even a small spark can be enough to cause the powder keg to explode”. “It is undisputed that the responsibility for the current military escalation clearly lies with the Russian side,” said the SPD politician.
SPD parliamentary group leader Rolf Mützenich advocated solving the tense situation between Russia and Ukraine with diplomacy instead of arms deliveries. “Our role and task of maintaining a peace – albeit a fragile one – and brokering solutions is not strengthened by arms deliveries to Kiev,” said Mützenich of the editorial network Germany. dpa
#Johnson #travel #region #speak #Putin