US ready to strike with Russia over missiles and military exercises as Ukraine crisis intensifies

When US and Russian negotiators meet next week for diplomatic talks, the Biden administration has said it is open to discussing the scope of European military exercises and missile deployments on the continent. this location, but did not reduce the more than 70,000 American troops stationed there.

“Russia says its security is under threat by the US and NATO,” a senior administration official told reporters on Saturday, speaking on condition of anonymity. “Therefore, we are ready to explore the possibility of reciprocal restrictions on the size and scope of such exercises, including with strategic bombers in close proximity to each other’s territories, and land exercises”.
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The comments come ahead of US-Russia diplomatic talks that begin Sunday night aimed at easing tensions in Eastern Europe. Nearly 100,000 Russian troops have massed on the country’s border with Ukraine, raising fears of a possible invasion. Analysts say the deployment could be Russia’s biggest troop build-up in Europe since the Cold War, which President Vladimir Putin has tried to use as leverage against the US to reduce troops. weapons and influence along its borders.

Putin invaded Georgia in 2008 and Ukraine in 2014. Contact between the US and Russia – the nations that possess the world’s two largest nuclear arsenals – has been limited since then. Talks continued to be interrupted when American intelligence agencies discovered that the Kremlin was involved in a multi-pronged campaign to intervene in the 2016 US presidential election.

The upcoming negotiations represent the best opportunity in years that the United States and its European allies can begin to forge diplomatic arrangements with Russia on a wide range of issues. On Monday, Deputy Foreign Minister Wendy Sherman will lead the US delegation and meet in Geneva with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, the head of the Russian effort. The next day, Sherman will make a brief introduction to the NATO allies in Brussels, and on Wednesday she will lead the American delegation in the first meeting of the Russia-NATO Council that Russia has accepted since July of this year. 2019.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Friday that Russia is creating a “fake story” as an excuse for the current crisis and warned that Putin might try to start a war with lies. Blinken told reporters: “No one should be surprised if Russia instigates a provocation or an incident, then tries to use it to justify military intervention, hopefully by the time both It was too late for the world to realize the ruse.” “The idea that Ukraine is the aggressor in this situation is absurd.”

He warned Russia of “huge consequences” if it invaded. He stopped short of threatening US military action but promised to wipe out economic sanctions and add military support to Ukrainian forces. “We are prepared to respond strongly to further aggressive actions by Russia. But a diplomatic solution is still possible and preferable if Russia chooses it,” Blinken said. “That is something that we, along with our allies and partners, will continue to diligently pursue.”

Last month, the Russian Foreign Ministry published two lengthy draft treaties that outline what Moscow wants from the United States and its allies. Russia is seeking to erase the past 31 years since the collapse of the Soviet Union, which led to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and other former Soviet states joining NATO and handing over several allies to the US on the Kremlin’s doorstep. The draft treaty calls for an end to NATO’s eastward expansion and the US military’s relationship with Ukraine and other former Soviet states.

Putin’s concerns stemmed from American assurances after the fall of the Berlin Wall that the United States would not expand into the vicinity of Moscow, perhaps most famously with Secretary of State James Baker’s promise tonot an inch to the east. ”

However, much of Moscow’s current list of demands are “non-starters,” Blinken said after a virtual meeting with NATO foreign ministers on Friday. As Ukraine is not a NATO member, Washington does not share treaty obligations with the government in Kyiv, but the Biden Administration provided $450 million in military aid last year and shared advice and intelligence information. newspaper. There have been calls for stronger US support to prevent a possible invasion. Critics, however, worry that bringing sophisticated US weapons into a border conflict with Russia will worsen Washington’s already precarious relationship with Moscow.

“The risk of conflict is real,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters on Friday. Russia’s aggressive actions seriously undermine the security order in Europe. NATO remains committed to our bilateral approach to Russia: strong deterrence and defense combined with meaningful dialogue.

However, Blinken made clear there are areas where the two countries can make diplomatic progress. Administration officials say Putin has publicly raised the possibility of the United States installing missiles in Ukraine, something President Joe Biden has not considered. Russia’s two draft treaty proposals both propose limits on medium- and short-range missiles.

In 2019, the Trump administration withdrew from the landmark Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, on the grounds that Russia had canceled the agreement. The 1987 pact came about during the Cold War, when the United States and the Soviet Union manipulated each other’s nuclear annihilation nightmares to maneuver to their advantage in times of relative peace. Superpowers removed 2,600 surface-to-surface missiles with a range of 310 to 3,420 miles — the weapons are considered destabilizing to mainland Europe because they are capable of launching a nuclear attack from anywhere without early warning.

When the deal fell apart, it ushered in an era in which cruise and ballistic missiles could be deployed across Europe with Russia and its NATO allies targeting each other’s capitals. “Russia also expressed interest in discussing the future of certain missile systems in Europe, in line with the INF treaty, which Russia violated and the previous US administration withdrew from,” the official said. senior government officials said. “We are open to discussing this possibility.”

Mr. Putin has specifically accused the US of trying to place missiles in Ukraine. “As President Biden told President Putin, ‘the United States has no intention of doing that,'” the official said. “So this is an area where we can gain understanding if Russia willing to make a commitment of reciprocity.”

The White House also expressed a willingness to discuss where and how its military exercises take place, particularly in the Baltic states, where Russia often complains about moving weapons and troops. However, the administration is unwilling to withdraw its presence in Eastern Europe, where some 6,000 US forces are deployed. America is currently maintaining about 4,000 troops in Poland on a rotating basis, consisting of a combat armored brigade.

That deployment began after Moscow annexed Crimea, part of NATO’s mission to establish a bulwark against possible Russian aggression on the alliance’s eastern flank. US ready to strike with Russia over missiles and military exercises as Ukraine crisis intensifies


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