Ukraine crisis..European parliamentary delegation holds talks in Kiev and NATO rules out sending troops
A delegation from the European Parliament arrived in Kiev to assess the situation on the ground, and while Britain called on the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to deploy large military reinforcements in eastern Europe, the Secretary-General of the Alliance ruled out plans to deploy combat forces in Ukraine, in light of the escalation of tension between Russia and the West. About Ukraine.
The delegation, which includes deputies from the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs, Security and Defense Committees, began its visit to Ukraine from January 30 to February 2, to see the situation in light of the current crisis.
The European Parliament delegation is headed by the Chair of the Foreign Relations Committee David McAllister (Germany) and the Chair of the Security and Defense Committee, Nathalie Loiseau (France). The delegation will express its solidarity with the Ukrainian people, and its opposition to any Russian move to escalate the situation.
The visit comes as part of Western countries’ moves to coordinate their efforts to respond to Moscow in the event of a military move against Ukrainian territory.
In turn, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said that the alliance has no plans to deploy combat forces in Ukraine, which is not a member of the military alliance in the event of an invasion by Russia.
He told the BBC, “We are focused on providing support to Kiev, because there is a difference between being a member of NATO and being a strong and valuable partner like Ukraine.”
In this context, NATO military exercises will be launched on Estonian soil, and will continue until the ninth of next February, and aim to test the interaction between the British and French military and the Estonian Defense Forces.
Relations between Russia and the West are at their lowest level since the Cold War.
Russia has deployed tens of thousands of troops to Ukraine’s borders in recent months, raising fears of an invasion. While the Russian government denies any such plans, it insists on obtaining written guarantees regarding Russia’s security, including that Ukraine will not join NATO.
In turn, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was considering deploying large NATO forces, as part of a plan to strengthen Europe’s borders, in response to Russia’s buildup of its forces on the border with Ukraine.
The British Prime Minister announced that his country would propose to NATO Deployment of troops, weapons, warships and combat aircraft in Europe, as part of a “large” military deployment.
Johnson said in a statement on Saturday evening that this set of measures “will send a clear message to the Kremlin, that we will not tolerate their destabilizing activity, and we will always stand by our NATO allies, in the face of Russian hostility.”
A statement from Johnson’s office added that he was considering the largest possible offer to NATO members in the Nordic and Baltic countries, in a way that would double the number of troops and send defensive weapons to Estonia.
The British Prime Minister’s office indicated that this proposal, which is supposed to be presented during a meeting of NATO military leaders next week, may lead to a doubling of the number of British forces currently deployed in Eastern Europe, and the provision of “defensive weapons” to Estonia.
Britain has about 900 soldiers stationed in Estonia, and more than 100 in Ukraine, as part of a training mission that began in 2015. There are currently about 150 soldiers from a light armored unit in Poland.
On the diplomatic front, British Foreign and Defense Ministers Liz Truss and Ben Wallace are scheduled to travel to Moscow for talks with their Russian counterparts in the coming days.
On the other hand, the Secretary of the Russian National Security Council said that Moscow does not want and does not need war with Ukraine, and that the West is promoting the idea of war to achieve goals.
In turn, the Russian Foreign Ministry said, in a statement yesterday evening, Saturday, that the noise in the Western media about Russian-Ukrainian relations has reached a boiling point, or rather, to the point of extreme insanity.
The Russian Foreign Ministry added in a statement that every media material broadcast by the West in this regard is more ridiculous than the other.
The Russian Ministry pointed out that loud press statements claiming that Russia is moving huge forces to the border with Ukraine, frighten the Western public.
On the ground, the Russian Defense Ministry announced the transfer of 12 Pantsir-S anti-aircraft missile systems to Belarus, to participate in joint military exercises between the two countries on February 10.
The ministry confirmed the completion of the redeployment of air defense forces and systems in Belarus as part of upcoming exercises.
For its part, the Ukrainian army continues for the second day to conduct military maneuvers at the Military College near the capital Kiev, which will last 4 days, where soldiers from special units will train to activate the British anti-armor missile system that arrived as part of the latest aid to Ukraine.
These maneuvers come from the Ukrainian army to test the readiness of its soldiers to face any possible military escalation with Russia due to the crisis in the Donbass region.
The Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley, in contact with the Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Valery Zaluzny, exchanged assessments on the development of the security environment in Eastern Europe.
A statement by the US Department of Defense stated that the two sides affirmed that Ukraine has the right to be independent and to preserve its sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Milley also reiterated the US administration’s support for Ukraine and the strengthening of its capabilities to defend itself.
In turn, the Ukrainian Interfax news agency quoted an air navigation monitoring website as saying that at least 15 flights from Britain and the United States have arrived in Ukraine since the middle of this month, carrying missiles and military equipment.
In this context, Washington confirmed that some of Russia’s demands regarding Ukraine fall outside the jurisdiction of Russian President Vladimir Putin, indicating its readiness to coordinate with Russia on some demands, and its refusal to make any concessions in other demands.
And the “The Hill” news website quoted US Defense Department spokesman John Kirby as saying in a televised interview that some of Russia’s demands, including preventing Ukraine from joining NATO, are outside Putin’s purview.
Kirby added that there are other demands that the United States will be willing to work with Russia on, and certain things that the United States will not make concessions on.
He said that when the negotiations began, Washington was ready to put something on the table if the Russians were ready for that as well, such as reducing the size and scope of some of our exercises on the continent.