Russia intensifies war rhetoric against Ukraine as the West fears an impending invasion | World report
Russian officials have made an unusually large number of allegations in recent days about what they see as formidable provocations in neighboring Ukraine, reflecting false expressions of concern previously used as a pretext for military self-defense operations.
In a series of public statements and posts through its state intelligence services, Russian leaders on Monday presented the single case of Ukraine unnecessarily deploying its armed forces to challenge Russia’s sovereignty and close interests, growing concerns in the West over military action from Moscow is just an attempt by Kiev to hide its own intentions that the West-backed peace process for the conflict in Ukraine has been broken and that Kiev’s allies in Europe and North America are unwilling to back their pledges of support.
The allegations, many of which are wholly unfounded, follow widespread concern that Russia has dramatically escalated the deployment of its troops in Ukraine. The recent operations by Russian special forces and paratroopers north of the Ukrainian border in Belarus, allegedly intended to maintain stability there, are in fact in line with the Kremlin’s established pattern of influencing Minsk and preparing for war. Russia also reportedly mobilized its troops in the Crimean peninsula in southern Ukraine earlier this year.
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Several Ukrainian officials have raised particular concerns about an upcoming military action, including the head of the Military Defense Service, who told the Military Times over the weekend that he believed Russia would invade before January.
Retired Army Lieutenant General Ben Hodges, whose last command oversaw all US soldiers in Europe, describes Ukraine’s recent concerns as “very credible”.
“The Kremlin is betting on Berlin, Brussels, Paris, London and Washington, DC and evaluating it as a possibility,” says Hodges, now with the Center for European Policy Analysis, wrote on twitter. “The Kremlin tries to present Ukraine to the West as a ‘failed state’ and to suppress any willingness by the West to support Ukraine in the event of an invasion.”
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Monday that reports in Western media about the Moscow threat to Ukraine are âa targeted information campaignâ to âpresent Russia as the side that is promoting the peace process over the seven years’ war in the east Ukraine threatens a region â. known as Donbas. The reports act as a “cover-up” in what he called Ukraine’s own aggressive steps.
He also claimed that the “number of provocations” from Ukraine “is increasing significantly”, particularly using unspecified weapon systems provided by NATO.
“We are watching this with great concern,” said Peskov in a translation of his remarks, referring to the Moscow “importance of extremist politicians in Ukraine”.
Russia has placed great emphasis on accepting Ukraine. His troops are using Turkish drones to defend their armed forces in Donbass against Russian artillery – a move Moscow claims is in violation of the fragile peace agreement known as the Minsk Accords.
Russian state news alleged on Monday, even without specifics, that Ukraine had used the Javelin anti-tank missiles, which Kiev had made available under the Trump administration, against Russian forces. Ukrainian brig. General Kyrylo Budanov, the chief of military defense, made a similar statement in his interview with the Military Times, but did not provide any details either. Although Ukraine is stored far from the line of contact in western Ukraine, it can use the powerful weapons where it wants, US officials said earlier. However, Washington has pressured Kiev to use them primarily as a deterrent.
The Ukrainian embassy in Washington, DC declined to comment on the use of spears by its military. It was postponed to a statement by Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba that “sparked an increase in Russian disinformation” earlier in the day.
âLet me put it officially: Ukraine is not planning a military offensive in Donbass. We are keen to seek political and diplomatic solutions to the conflict, âwrote Kuleba in a series of tweets. âUkraine continues to work hard to revive the Normandy format with Germany and France as mediators. We call on Russia to constructively participate in these peace efforts instead of undermining them. “
“At the same time, Ukrainian diplomacy continues to work on strengthening Ukraine’s defense capabilities to deter and discourage Russia from further aggressive action,” he wrote.
Other claims made by Moscow on Monday are in line with US assessments that Russia is trying to overwhelm Ukraine by mobilizing forces on almost all fronts. It did so with armed forces in the strategically critical Crimean peninsula that had lagged behind after the planned military exercises ended earlier this year, which alarmed Pentagon officials at the time. The Defense Ministry has also expressed concern in recent weeks about the steady build-up of Russian forces in eastern Ukraine.
Russia has also prompted Ukraine to deploy rapid training troops to its northern border with Belarus – among Russia’s remaining allies – in response to the new Russian military operations there. The Ukrainian Defense Ministry described in a report on Monday “tactical exercises with combat shooting and paratrooper drops” in the Zhytomyr Oblast on the border with Belarus.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Monday blamed Ukraine for âoverly inflamed and very dangerousâ rhetoric that âapparently reflects a desire to provoke and bring the conflict into a heated phase,â a translation of his remarks read . He noted that Germany and France – key players in the ongoing peace process for Ukraine – do not seem to have an obligation in his view to implement his terms.
Other American officials and leaders believe Russia is positioning itself for a violent move against Ukraine.
MP Adam Schiff, chairman of the House of Representatives’ influential Intelligence Committee, said in a statement over the weekend that he was particularly concerned about reports of recent Russian mobilizations, coupled with similar statements by its leaders.
âAgainst the backdrop of the Kremlin’s increasingly bellicose rhetoric – and its dangerous and irresponsible actions on land, sea, in the air and in space – the potential for a new, perhaps more violent, offensive against Ukraine cannot be overlooked. “Said the California Democrat. He added that Russian President Vladimir Putin “has made it clear that he sees a democratic Ukraine as a threat and that he may continue to dismantle its territory and sovereignty following its annexation of Crimea and the attacks on Donbass.”
Other officials in Russia denied allegations of unilateral military action, but appeared to acknowledge his background.
Konstantin Kosachev, deputy chairman of the Federation Council, the Russian upper house of parliament and chairman of the foreign affairs committee, said on Monday that Russian forces have not and will never be deployed in southeast Ukraine.
However, he added that, as in Georgia in 2008, the presence of the Russian military may be required for a “peacekeeping operation”.