The Tension Over Ukraine Runs Amok And Feeds a Military Escalation

The tension over Ukraine runs amok and feeds a military escalation

Since the latest crisis broke out in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine on October 30, tension has spiraled out of control and the use of diplomacy between the US, NATO, the EU, Ukraine and Russia has only served to highlight irreconcilable positions. Added to this is the shipment of weapons to Ukraine by some countries and the mobilization of troops within the framework of NATO, including those of Spain. The Defense Minister, Margarita Robles, has announced the sending of two ships to the Black Sea and is evaluating an aerial deployment of fighters in Bulgaria. The movement was already scheduled, but it has been brought forward in the face of the regional situation, amid criticism from Podemos.

The new peak of tension was forged three months ago with the deployment of Russian troops near the border with Ukraine. The US then accused Moscow of planning an invasion, something Russia has denied. Both parties have progressively raised their tone and in this context the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, and the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, are meeting this Friday in Geneva.

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“The deployment of troops does not directly mean that Russia is going to invade Ukraine. Rather it says that Moscow is raising the stakes and trying to get what it wants through escalation,” Kerim Has, a Moscow-based Russian political analyst, told elDiario.es. . “It mainly reflects a ‘coercive diplomacy’ strategy. Russia wants everyone to think that a war can start very soon and that the Kremlin is willing to fight for its red lines.”

This Friday’s meeting is the culmination of an intense week full of visits and meetings between international leaders. On January 10, another meeting was held without much progress between the foreign ministers of both countries and Blinken has met these days with the president of Ukraine, Volodímir Zelenski, as well as with the foreign ministers of France, Germany and the United Kingdom. United. Spanish Minister José Manuel Albares also visited the Secretary of State this week in Washington. Meanwhile, the head of German diplomacy, Annalena Baerbock, has traveled to both Ukraine and Russia.

These meetings mostly deal with requests from Russian President Vladimir Putin to de-escalate the conflict. Days after the outbreak of the crisis, Russia presented two draft treaties to sign with the US and NATO in which he collected all his requests, among them, the explicit prohibition of NATO’s expansion to the east, including Ukraine. However, in 2008 NATO took the first step in accepting Ukraine’s request to become a member state. Although the promise has not been fulfilled, the agreement with Ukraine has since strained relations with Russia.

The collective defense organization and its members flatly reject the proposal of the Kremlin, claiming that each country is free to determine its alliances and defensive commitments. “We will not return to the old logic of competition and spheres of influence in which entire countries were treated as possessions or backyards,” European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen said Thursday.

However, there are different views among member states, for example regarding the Russian-German Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which the US opposes. “There is no single position. The position of Western continental Europe such as Germany, France and Italy differs from that of the UK, Poland and the Baltic states,” says Has. France, for its part, is trying to relaunch a four-way dialogue between Berlin, Paris, Kiev and Moscow. “It is good that there is coordination between Europe and the US, but it is vital that Europe has its own dialogue with Russia,” Emmanuel Macron has stated

. Meanwhile, the US is trying to unify criteria to respond to Moscow’s proposals.

And parallel to diplomatic efforts, countries are preparing or reinforcing defensive matters. This Monday, British Defense Minister Ben Wallace announced the shipment of weapons to Ukraine in a package made up of “light anti-tank weapons systems”, claiming that they are short-range weapons with a “clear” “defensive” utility.

For its part, the US State Department has authorized Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia to send US missiles and other weapons to Ukraine. In order for a country to export US weapons to third countries, the US has to issue this authorization. Added to this is US assistance, which in 2021 alone reached 450 million dollars. Since 2014, the US has supplied $2.5 billion in “military aid” to Ukraine. However, on this point there is not complete unity on the western flank and Germany, for example, has rejected the Ukrainian request and has not sent weapons, which the Ukrainian ambassador in Berlin has described as “extremely disappointing“.

“There is still time for diplomacy and I don’t think there will be a Russian invasion until at least Blinken and Lavrov meet, until there is a written NATO/US response to the Russian proposal and until Biden and Putin talk on the phone. Has says. “In fact, I think the US can still find a ‘creative diplomatic formula to continue negotiations and de-escalate’.”

“Ukraine sees this assistance as a carte blanche to launch a military operation in Donbas. The Ukrainian armed forces continue to bombard the civilian population in the east of the country,” the Russian Foreign Spokesperson Maria Zakharova. The US denounces that this is just a strategy to try to draw Ukraine as the aggressor. In the east of the country, Russia has supported separatist militias since 2014.

“Russia blames others for its own aggression, but it is Moscow’s responsibility to end this crisis peacefully. Moscow invaded Ukraine in 2014, occupies Crimea and continues to fuel the conflict in eastern Ukraine. This follows a pattern of Russian behavior to weaken the sovereignty and territorial integrity of countries in the region, such as Georgia or Moldova,” said the State Department on Thursday it’s a statement.

“The US State Department is aware that various Russian military and intelligence entities are engaged in a confrontational information campaign against Ukraine. These activities include the dissemination of disinformation and propaganda that attempts to paint Ukraine as the aggressor in its relationship with Russia. “, has indicated the Department of State. “These measures are intended to influence Western countries to believe that Ukraine’s behavior could provoke a global conflict.”

Secretary Blinken also announced Thursday a series of sanctions against four individuals “related to influence activities directed by Russian intelligence to destabilize Ukraine.” “In anticipation of a possible new invasion of Ukraine, the Russian intelligence services have been recruiting Ukrainian citizens in key positions to access sensitive information. The FSB takes advantage of these officials in an attempt to create instability in Ukraine,” he added. .

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