NATO sees signs of Russia’s ‘all-out attack’ on Ukraine

Dhe NATO is expecting a comprehensive offensive by the Russian army on neighboring Ukraine. “All signs indicate that Russia is planning a full-scale attack on Ukraine,” said the secretary general of the military alliance, Jens Stoltenberg, on Saturday evening in the ARD Tagesthemen. According to Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht, Russia has made all preparations to attack. “We are well advised to be prepared,” said the SPD politician in the ZDF-heute journal.

According to US information, Russia has gathered around 150,000 soldiers at the border. However, Moscow denies attack plans. The government there emphasizes that after some maneuvers had ended as planned, troops have now been withdrawn.

Stoltenberg: NATO wants a political solution

Stoltenberg, currently a guest at the Munich Security Conference, disagreed. “Troops are not being withdrawn, as Russia says, but new troops are being added.” There are also signs that Russia is preparing to create a pretext for an attack.

Stoltenberg emphasized that despite the threat of escalation, NATO is still sticking to a political solution. “We want to get Russia to change course and sit down with us.”

Stoltenberg said that Ukraine’s NATO membership, which Russia had strictly rejected, was possible, but ultimately the decision of 30 allies. At the moment it is less about NATO membership and more about “whether we accept that a great power like Russia is trying to dictate to another country what it can and cannot do – by force.”

“Very Great Threat”

Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht welcomed NATO’s decision to drastically reduce the standby times for tens of thousands of soldiers in the military alliance. When asked whether a Russian attack on NATO members, such as the Baltic states or Poland, was to be feared, the minister said: “The threat is very great in this region.” And the NATO allies have a right to “to be adequately secured”. She added: “NATO stands here. We stand together, closed together. And Russia must prepare for the fact that we protect our allies.” As a show of strength, Russia tested nuclear-capable missiles on Saturday.

In view of the escalation, US Congressman Jim Banks called on Germany to stop the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline immediately and to supply arms to Ukraine. “Germany’s capitulation to Russia on Nord Stream and other issues is something that the rest of the world – especially the Americans – are shaking their heads at,” said the Republican in the US House of Representatives to the German Press Agency on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference .

Doubts about German reliability

Many Americans doubted Germany’s reliability, Banks said. He specifically demanded that Germany deliver the weapons to Ukraine, which the government in Kiev is demanding. The US has provided heavy weapons to Ukraine on a number of years. Germany categorically rules this out.

US Secretary of State Tony Blinken expressed his incomprehension about Kremlin boss Vladimir Putin’s motives. He accelerated everything that Putin allegedly wanted to prevent, Blinken told the Süddeutsche Zeitung. For example, the majority of Ukrainians have turned their backs on Russia and are now in favor of NATO membership. And the strengthening of NATO is solely the result of Russia’s “aggressive measures”.

The US is threatening sanctions again

Blinken urgently warned Moscow against an invasion of Ukraine and again announced “many severe sanctions” against Russia in this case. At the same time he renewed his offer to negotiate. If Russia does not start the war earlier, he will meet with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Europe on Wednesday. However, he assumes that Putin has already made his decision to go to war.

French President Emmanuel Macron wants to call Putin on Sunday. According to the Elysée Palace, these are the “last possible and necessary efforts” to prevent a military escalation. Macron spoke to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Saturday. The Elysée Palace said that he said he did not want to respond to the Russian “provocations” with countermeasures. Chancellor Olaf Scholz also said: “As much diplomacy as possible without being naïve – that is the claim.”

Zelenskyj took part in the Munich Security Conference on Saturday. In his speech he offered Putin a meeting. The Ukrainian President also called for a “clear, feasible schedule” for his country’s accession to NATO – Putin, on the other hand, insists on guarantees that Ukraine will not be admitted to NATO.

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