Ukraine crisis.. US-European moves to prevent a possible Russian invasion, and Moscow accuses the West of provoking it

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken discussed with his counterparts in Britain, France and Germany the Ukrainian-Russian crisis, and Blinken’s visit to Europe was preceded by a secret visit by the Director of the CIA for the same purpose. On the other hand, Russia said on Thursday that US threats to impose sanctions do not help reduce tension, accusing the West of provoking it militarily.

Blinken met this morning in Berlin with his German counterpart Annanna Barbock and French Jo-Yves Le Drian, as well as British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs James Cleverly, to discuss joint diplomatic efforts to stave off the specter of war with Russia, in light of Western assessments that Moscow is about to invade neighboring Ukraine.

Today’s meetings come a day after the US Secretary’s visit to the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, where he met President Volodymyr Zelensky, and a day before Blinken’s meeting with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, tomorrow in the Swiss city of Geneva.

Blinken pledged, in Kiev yesterday, that his country will follow the diplomatic path as much as it can towards the crisis between the West and Russia.

Also yesterday, US President Joe Biden gave the strongest signal yet that he believes a Russian attack on Ukraine is likely. “My guess is he’s going to act,” he said, referring to his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. “He has to do something.”

secret visit

The US Wall Street Journal reported that CIA Director Bill Burns secretly visited the German and Ukrainian capitals, a week before Blinken’s trip.

The purpose of Burns’ visit was to persuade European allies to unite behind a strong response to Russia, as well as support Ukraine.

In a remarkable development, the French news agency quoted US officials as saying that Washington had approved demands for the Baltic states to ship US missiles and other weapons they have to Ukraine.

By the Baltic states, Russia’s neighbors Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania, which joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 2014.

Under the export restrictions, countries must obtain State Department approval before transferring any weapons they have acquired from Washington to a third party. Reuters quoted an informed source as saying that third-party transfer agreements will allow Estonia to transfer Javelin anti-tank missiles to Ukraine, while Lithuania will be allowed to send Stinger missiles.

In a related context, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said today that the European Union will respond to Russia with “enormous” economic and financial sanctions if it carries out further attacks on Ukraine. “We do not accept Russia’s attempts to divide Europe into spheres of influence,” she added, in response to Russia’s demands that NATO not include countries that were previously under the influence of the Soviet Union.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said that US statements about the alleged Russian invasion of Ukraine are “necessary to create backgrounds in order to provoke Russia militarily on a larger scale.”

Russian accusations

On the other hand, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova called on Western countries to stop contributing to the “militarization” of Ukraine, and considered US statements about the alleged Russian invasion of this country “necessary to create backgrounds in order to provoke Russia militarily on a larger scale.”

She also mentioned that the upcoming meeting between the Foreign Minister and his American counterpart, tomorrow in Geneva, will discuss possible future steps regarding the security guarantees put forward by Russia, and the results of the Geneva and Brussels consultations that took place a few days ago with the West.

The Russian presidency said that the US threat of sanctions does not help reduce tension in Europe, and could lead to instability, and the Kremlin added that it does not rule out a contact between Presidents Putin and Biden in the near future, and welcomes such a conversation, stressing that Moscow is waiting for a written response from Washington to the security proposals. next week.

The Kremlin pointed out that Washington’s statements regarding the non-acceptance of Ukraine into NATO in the short term, does not mean that this will not happen in the medium term.

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