Washington delivers its response to Moscow’s demands.. America expects Russia to invade Ukraine soon, and Erdogan considers it “folly” if it happens

The United States expected that Russia would invade Ukraine before the middle of next month, which Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan considered it would be “folly” if it happened.

Assistant Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said Wednesday that the United States believes Russia is ready to use force against Ukraine by mid-February, despite pressure to prevent it.

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“I have no idea if he made the final decision, but we certainly see all indications that Russia will use military force at some point, maybe (between) now and mid-February,” Wendy Sherman said during an online chat hosted by the Yalta European Strategy Forum. February”.

She stressed that the United States is “pressing for diplomacy”, but at the same time “preparing for the worst”, and said that Washington is “preparing for various scenarios”, from a “complete invasion” to “hybrid attacks, sabotage or coercion.”

In another sign of heightened fears, the US embassy in Ukraine on Wednesday urged its citizens to “consider leaving now,” warning that the situation “could deteriorate without warning.”

On the other hand, Washington refused, on Wednesday, in its written response to Moscow, a pledge to close the door of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to Ukraine, but at the same time it proposed a “diplomatic path” to avoid a new war.

The US ambassador in Moscow, John Salvian, handed over to the Russian Foreign Ministry his country’s response regarding the list of security demands submitted by Moscow to resolve the Ukrainian crisis, foremost of which is NATO’s withdrawal from Eastern Europe.

Last December, Moscow asked the US-led alliance not to include new members or establish bases in former Soviet republics.

Moscow did not reveal the content of the US response, but US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken confirmed that the letter set a “serious diplomatic path” for Moscow to resolve the conflict over Ukraine, stressing that Ukraine is free to choose its allies.

“There are core principles that we are committed to preserving and defending, including Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and the right of nations to choose their own security arrangements and alliances,” Blinken added.

escalation of tension

In turn, the Secretary-General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Jens Stoltenberg confirmed that the alliance presented Moscow with proposals for a diplomatic solution to the crisis.

“Now we are extending a hand to Russia once again in pursuit of a path of dialogue and a political solution. But certainly, while we hope and strive for a good solution, in order to reduce escalation, we are also prepared for the worst,” Stoltenberg said.

He added, in statements to reporters, that “tension is escalating,” and that Russia continues to build up its military near Ukraine by sending thousands of additional forces and modern weapons to be deployed in Belarus.

“We see more forces not only in and around Ukraine, but also in Belarus, where Moscow is deploying forces with thousands and hundreds of aircraft, S-400 air defense systems, and a lot of very advanced capabilities,” he said, explaining that this is happening under the guise of maneuvers.

NATO said it had submitted written “proposals” to Russia in response to its demands to reduce US influence in Eastern Europe. An official in the alliance revealed that NATO conveyed its proposals to Moscow on Wednesday afternoon, in parallel with the United States.

NATO rejected Russia’s demands to withdraw its soldiers and weapons from Eastern Europe and prevent Ukraine’s integration into the alliance, and called on it to reduce tension with Ukraine and enter into a dialogue to resolve the crisis.

And Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned in a speech to lawmakers on Wednesday that Moscow would take “all necessary measures” unless it received constructive responses, and if the West continued its “aggressive policy.”

Erdogan’s statements

For his part, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday – in an interview with the private Turkish TV channel (NTV) – that “it would be foolish for Russia to attack Ukraine.”

Erdogan added that if Russia took such a step, his country would “do what is necessary as a member of NATO.”

He revealed that he invited Russian President Vladimir Putin to Turkey as part of a proposal to host the two sides to adopt the path of diplomacy and peace, noting that he expected a response from Moscow.

Erdogan also said that “a comprehensive dialogue is needed that addresses some of Russia’s security concerns, while making it clear to it that some of its demands are unacceptable.”

“I hope Russia will not attack or occupy Ukraine militarily. Such a move would be a foolish act for Russia and for the region alike… There is a need for a dialogue that will make Russia listen and remove its rational security concerns,” he added.

British forces and a French encounter

On the other hand, the British newspaper, The Telegraph, on Wednesday, quoted sources as saying that the United Kingdom is considering deploying forces in eastern Europe before a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The newspaper added that government sources confirmed that “very advanced discussions” were taking place after reports emerged from Washington that the United States, the United Kingdom and some NATO members were in talks about strengthening their military presence on the eastern flank of the alliance.

In the same context, the Elysee Palace announced on Wednesday evening, at the conclusion of a marathon session of talks that took place in Paris between Russia and Ukraine with French-German mediation, that the two mediators had received a “good signal” from the Russian side, even if the meeting was “difficult.”

An official in the French presidency said that the marathon session of talks, which took place at the level of diplomatic envoys, and lasted for eight hours, constituted “a test of Russia’s desire to negotiate.”

The French official confirmed that the Paris talks were aimed at discussing ways to strengthen the armistice between Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian rebels in separatist eastern Ukraine, and not to discuss the Russian military buildup on the Ukrainian border, which Kiev and its Western allies say its goal is an imminent Russian invasion of Ukraine, an accusation it denies. Moscow.

He explained that the Russian and Ukrainian sides, in a joint statement, committed themselves to “unconditionally respecting the ceasefire” reached in the so-called “Minsk agreements”, and pledged to meet again within two weeks, this time in Berlin.

In turn, the Kremlin’s special envoy on the Ukraine conflict, Dmitry Kozak, said at the conclusion of the talks that “although there are differences of interpretation, the truce must continue, and the ceasefire must be preserved” in eastern Ukraine.

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