US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken discussed by phone with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov “acute and shared” fears that Russia “may consider” launching further military aggression against Ukraine in the coming days. This was announced on Saturday, February 12, by the head of the press service of the US State Department, Ned Price.
Blinken signaled that “the diplomatic path to resolve the crisis remains open,” but this approach would require Moscow to “de-escalate and engage in good-faith discussions.” At the same time, the head of the American foreign policy department repeated that if Russia “takes the path of aggression and continues to invade Ukraine, this will lead to a decisive, large-scale and unified transatlantic response.” The conversation took place at the initiative of the American side.
Moscow: Launched “propaganda campaign”
Sergei Lavrov, in his turn, expressed the opinion that “the propaganda campaign launched by the United States and its allies” encourages the authorities in Kiev “to sabotage the Minsk agreements and harmful attempts to resolve the “Donbass problem” by force.”
According to Moscow, the reaction of Washington and Brussels to Russia’s position on the security architecture in Europe “ignores the key” provisions for the Russian Federation, primarily on the non-expansion of the alliance and the non-deployment of strike weapons systems near Russian borders. These issues will take center stage in Russia’s assessment of “documents received from the US and NATO,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said. Lavrov also recalled “the inadmissibility of actions violating the commitments made at the highest level on the indivisibility of security” in the Euro-Atlantic space.
Earlier, the US State Department ordered non-critical diplomats to leave the US embassy in Kiev. Germany also urged its citizens to leave Ukraine amid fears of Russian troops invading the country. The German Foreign Ministry pointed out that German citizens should weigh whether there is an “urgent need” in their presence on the territory of Ukraine.
West fears Russian invasion of Ukraine
In recent months, relations between Russia and Western countries have remained tense. The West is talking about the concentration of Russian troops near the Ukrainian border and the threat of a Russian invasion of Ukraine. The Kremlin denies plans for military aggression.
The January series of talks between Russia and the United States, NATO and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe did not bring the desired results. The West is calling on Moscow to withdraw troops from the Ukrainian border and is threatening unprecedented sanctions. Russia, on the other hand, accuses Western countries of arming Ukraine and conducting maneuvers near the borders of the Russian Federation.
Der Spiegel: US warns of imminent Russian attack on Ukraine
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said earlier that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could begin “at any moment.” According to the German weekly Der Spiegel, the US intelligence agencies, based on the latest data, fear that it could happen as early as February 16th. The American side warned the German government and other NATO countries about this, the newspaper wrote.
Presidents of the United States and Russia Joseph Biden and Vladimir Putin are scheduled to hold telephone conversations on February 12.