troops massed at the border, the United States as mediator … Update on the situation

For several weeks, the situation has been extremely tense on the Russian-Ukrainian border. The United States warned Moscow on Tuesday against any “Aggression” targeting Ukraine. Update on the situation.

  • What is happening on the border between Russia and Ukraine?

At first, Kiev and its Western allies expressed their concern about a massive deployment of Russian troops on the Ukrainian border, seeing preparations for a possible invasion.

Russia, which denies any bellicose tendency, accused Ukraine in return, Wednesday 1er December, to mass troops in the east of the country.

The situation in this region has been very tense since the annexation in 2014 by Russia of the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea. For more than seven years, Ukraine has been in conflict with pro-Russian separatists in the eastern part of its territory. This conflict has already claimed more than 13,000 lives.

The current peak in tensions is reminiscent of a previous crisis in April when Russia deployed tens of thousands of troops to Ukraine’s borders for military operations. “Military exercises”, in response to activities “Threatening” of NATO. After several weeks of tension, Moscow had finally recalled its troops.

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  • Russia raises the tone and chastises the West

It is in this context that the spokesperson for Russian diplomacy, Maria Zakharova, said on Wednesday 1er December that “The Ukrainian army is strengthening its military capabilities, bringing in heavy equipment and personnel” in the east of the country. According to her, 125,000 soldiers are in this area located near the Russian borders and where parts of the territory are under the control of pro-Russian separatists. Mme Zakharova also accused Kiev of sabotaging the peace process started in 2015 with the separatists by planning military exercises in the presence of foreign troops for the next year.

Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday blasted the “Destructive politics” NATO countries, which “Seek to draw Ukraine into their orbit and turn it into an anti-Russian country”. Also accusing the West of wanting “Dictate how the Russian armed forces should behave on their own territory”, he warned that Moscow “Will continue to respond to any unfriendly approach”.

Russian President Vladimir Putin assured on Tuesday that it was necessary to “Mend the links” with Kiev, so that “Nobody feels threatened”.

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  • Ukraine calls on NATO to help, US mediates

Ukraine on Wednesday asked NATO countries meeting in Riga (Latvia) for a “Deterrence package” against Russia. “We are confident that by combining our efforts, by acting in a coordinated manner, we will be able to dissuade President Putin and encourage him not to choose the worst-case scenario that a military operation would represent”Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said upon arriving at the meeting. He also spoke of possible economic sanctions and reinforced military support in Kiev.

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“We remain committed to providing political and practical support to Georgia and Ukraine”, reaffirmed NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. The day before, Mr. Stoltenberg and the head of American diplomacy, Antony Blinken, had warned Moscow against any “Aggression” targeting Kiev, which would have “Serious consequences”.

Blinken will meet his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Stockholm on Thursday, an American official said on Wednesday. In parallel, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called on Wednesday, in an address to the Ukrainian Parliament, for “Direct negotiations” with Russia for “Stop the war” in the east of his country. “I am not afraid of a direct conversation with” Russian President Vladimir Putin, he insisted.

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The World with AFP

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