In order to calm the tension between Russia and Ukraine, French President Emmanuel Macron opened a dialogue with officials from both sides, who will meet in Paris next Wednesday. Meanwhile, the United States has put 8,500 of its soldiers on “high” alert in the face of heightened tensions on the Russian-Ukrainian border.
France and Germany are ready to open dialogue with Russia and Ukraine, in an attempt to reduce tensions between the former Soviet nations, plunged into a crisis by the deployment of Russian troops along their borders in the northeast, east and south. from Ukraine.
To this end, officials from the four countries will meet this Wednesday in Paris, as announced by the Elysée on Monday, January 24.
From the office of the French president, Emmanuel Macron, it was also reported that the head of state would speak “in the coming days” with the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, and his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodímir Zelenski.
In a statement, Paris assured that “the de-escalation requires firm and credible warnings to Russia, which requires constant coordination between European partners and allies, and an intensified dialogue with Russia.”
The statement from the Elysee came shortly before the videoconference called this Monday, January 24, by the US president, Joe Biden, with several European leaders, including Macron himself, as well as with the heads of the European Commission and NATO, with the in order to coordinate the response to the Ukraine crisis with Russia.
The US puts its troops on “high” alert
After the virtual meeting, Biden did not hesitate to say that there is “total unanimity” between his position and that of his European allies regarding the concentration of Russian troops on the border with Ukraine.
Today, I spoke with European leaders in response to Russia’s military buildup on Ukraine’s borders. We discussed our joint efforts to deter further Russian aggression, such as preparations to impose severe economic costs on Russia and reinforce security on the eastern flank. pic.twitter.com/2XvTTvdLJl
— President Biden (@POTUS) January 24, 2022
“I had a very, very good meeting. (There is a) total unanimity with all European leaders,” the US president said during a press conference at the White House.
Later, in a statement, Washington assured that the participants in the videoconference “underlined their shared desire for a diplomatic resolution of the current tensions”, in addition to “reviewing their recent contacts with Russia in multiple formats”.
But, despite the efforts of the United States and the European Union to open dialogue with Russia, hours before the virtual meeting, the Pentagon announced that it had placed 8,500 of its soldiers on “high” alert due to the increase in tension with Moscow. for Ukraine.
The spokesman for the US Department of Defense, John Kirby, reported that, with this alert, the military units could be ready in a few days (ten to five days) in case Russia advances towards Ukraine. However, the official said that for now nothing has been decided on a deployment to Eastern Europe. “We are not deploying them now, we are not saying that diplomacy is dead,” he insisted.
The deployment of US troops would be made, according to the Pentagon spokesman, only if NATO decides to activate that option and that they would be part of the so-called NATO Response Force (NRF), a multinational force consisting of ground troops, air and sea, and which has some 40,000 soldiers from different countries.
Although the United States must wait for the green light from NATO, it does not rule out a possible “unilateral” deployment outside the NRF, in coordination and after having consulted with the allies.
At the moment, the Atlantic Alliance has about 4,000 soldiers in multinational battalions in Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, and Poland, backed by tanks, air defenses, and intelligence and surveillance units.
This is a defining moment for Euro-Atlantic security.
— NATO (@NATO) January 24, 2022
For the Kremlin, it is a Western “hysteria”
The West has its eye on Russia after this nation deployed nearly 100,000 troops along its borders in the northeast, east and south of its Ukrainian neighbor. But Moscow denies planning an invasion and cites the Western response as evidence that Russia is the target, not the instigator, of the aggression.
Russia’s military presence on the borders with Ukraine has been increasing since 2014, when the then-Ukrainian province of Crimea was annexed in the so-called Donbass conflict, in which at least 14,000 people have died, according to Kiev.
In addition, Moscow does not look favorably on Ukraine’s rapprochement with the West, specifically because of its intentions to join both the European Union and NATO, an organization that the Kremlin considers a risk to its security.
Precisely, after the meeting last Friday in Geneva between the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, and the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, Washington is expected to respond this week to Moscow about its demand for guarantees. including, but not limited to, curbing the further expansion of NATO and ending all military cooperation with the former Soviet republics.
With Reuters, EFE and AFP