Friday, December 03, 2021
Kiev warns of “escalation”
Putin and Biden want to talk about Ukraine
The meeting of foreign ministers apparently laid the foundation stone: US President Biden and Russian President Putin want to meet at least virtually for a Ukraine summit next week. The situation on the border remains tense. Kiev fears an invasion “at the end of January”.
In the midst of tensions on the Russian-Ukrainian border, US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin are likely to meet for a video summit next week. Biden assured the White House that he was taking a series of measures to prevent a Russian invasion of Ukraine. Meanwhile, Kiev warned of a major attack by Russia in late January.
The date of the video call “has already been set,” said Putin’s foreign policy advisor Yuri Ushakov. “We’re about to come to an agreement on the time that everyone will agree to.” The video summit will be held after Putin’s visit to India, according to Ushakov. The Kremlin chief travels to New Delhi on Monday.
The announcement came after a meeting on Thursday on the sidelines of an OSCE summit in Stockholm between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his US colleague Antony Blinken. The meeting “was a good opportunity for both sides to explain their positions to each other in a clear and understandable way,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitiri Peskov.
Ukraine fears escalation
Given a massive deployment of Russian forces on the border with Ukraine, there are fears that Russia could attack the neighboring country. Biden said in the White House that he was planning a series of “initiatives” to prevent this from happening. The measures would make it “very, very difficult for Putin to go ahead and do what people fear he might do”.
Moscow rejects such allegations. In return, the Kremlin accuses Ukraine of letting the West arm itself with military equipment and denounces NATO military maneuvers near the Russian borders. Ukraine fears an attack by Russia in a few weeks’ time. “The most likely time for escalation is the end of January,” said Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksi Resnikov.
The Ukrainian secret service is currently analyzing all possible scenarios. “There is a possibility of large-scale escalation on the part of Russia,” warned the defense minister. He estimated that Russia has around 100,000 soldiers stationed near the Ukrainian border, in Moscow-controlled Crimea, and in areas in eastern Ukraine held by pro-Russian fighters.
Kiev does not want to renounce NATO membership
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitri Kuleba categorically refused to renounce the aspired NATO membership and to promise other “guarantees” demanded by Russia. Kiev also called on the US and its allies to reject the demands formulated by Moscow – also in order to reduce tensions on the Russian-Ukrainian border.
On Wednesday, Putin called for the West to clearly reject any further eastward expansion of NATO. In a telephone conversation with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Putin also criticized Kiev for using Turkish-made drones in conflict with pro-Russian fighters in eastern Ukraine. Kiev is trying to disrupt the peace agreements in eastern Ukraine through “provocative” military actions, the Kremlin said in a transcript.