US Secretary of State Antony Blinken reiterated on Saturday that the United States is “very concerned” about Russia’s actions and statements in Ukraine where tensions are growing. “We are very concerned about the unusual military activities of Russia on the border with Ukraine. We are truly concerned about some expressions that we have seen and heard from Russia and on social media, ”stated Blinken. to the press in Dakar, where he made the last leg of his African tour.
Blinken said that his concern is “widely shared” by the allies of the United States, But he did not address whether US intelligence believes that Russian President Vladimir Putin wants to seize Ukrainian territory.
“We do not know what the intentions of President Putin are. But we know what happened in the past. We know the strategy that consists of citing illusory provocations from Ukraine or another country and using them as an excuse for Russia’s plans ”Blinken said.
He was referring to the crisis that occurred in 2014 when Russia, following the overthrow of the pro-Western Ukrainian government, seized the Crimean peninsula.
The Donbass region (eastern Ukraine) has been the scene since 2014 of a war that caused more than 13,000 deaths between Kiev forces and pro-Russian separatists, who are considered to be militarily sponsored by the Kremlin, despite denying it.
Putin on Wednesday accused Western nations of increasing the intensity of the conflict in Ukraine by supporting maneuvers in the Black Sea and dropping bombs near its borders.
Blinken’s message comes after the US Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin, warned last Wednesday of the repeated “problematic behavior” by Russia, citing the recent test with anti-satellite missiles and the concentration of troops on the border with Ukraine, for which he asked Moscow to be “more responsible and transparent.” “The truth is that we do not know exactly what it is that President (Russian Vladimir) Putin is looking for,” he added. For this reason, the Pentagon chief asked Moscow to “be more responsible and transparent” in its military activities.
“Putin is playing chess with the West by moving military forces and equipment along the Russian border with Ukraine,” the new Ukrainian defense minister accused yesterday, at the same time he asked the United States and the European nations to hold the Kremlin responsible for any new aggression.
“It is testing the unity of the European Union, it is testing the unity of the NATO allies, it is testing our society, the Ukrainians, it is testing Poland, the Baltic countries”, Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said in an interview during his visit to Washington, a trip that has included face-to-face talks with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and a request for additional military aid.
Reznikov said he and his US counterpart reached the same conclusions about the situation on the Russia-Ukraine border, although he suggested that some Ukrainian officials initially viewed the events with less alarm, having become desensitized to the threat from Russia after nearly eight years. of war. “We have the same assessment of risks, of threats, but the difference is in the perception of risk,” Reznikov said. “We have been at this level of life for eight years, so we have a psychological immunity.”
Reznikov declined to go into detail about the request he made to the Pentagon.