US prepares for multiple contingencies as tensions between Russia and Ukraine mount
The US and its European allies are planning “a series of contingencies” because they fear that Moscow’s saber-rattling could be more than harsh words.
Several US officials on Tuesday raised serious concerns about what they consistently referred to as “unusual military activity” by Russia along the border with Ukraine, as well as Moscow’s harsh rhetoric, insisting that Washington’s support for Kiev was “rock solid”, no matter what happens next.
“We have shown that the United States is ready to use a variety of tools to combat harmful Russian actions and we will not hesitate to use these and other tools in the future,” a senior government official told VOA under the Condition, anonymity, in order to discuss the sensitive topic.
“[We] urge Moscow to de-escalate tensions, “the official added.” A crucial first step is to restore the ceasefire to the low levels of violence reached in July 2020. ”
At the State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters on Tuesday that Washingtonâs consultations with its European partners and with Ukraine are ongoing.
“We share information, we share information,” he said, describing the conversations as lengthy. “We are prepared and preparing for a number of eventualities.”
The White House and State Department comments came just hours after senior U.S. general, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley, spoke to his Russian counterpart on the phone.
The two generals “discussed several worrying security issues,” the Pentagon said in a statement, adding that the call was “a continuation of communication between the two leaders to ensure risk reduction and operational conflict resolution.”
The Pentagon said additional details of the call would be kept secret by prior arrangement.
The US-Russia call Tuesday came after senior US and Ukrainian generals spoke twice in four days to “exchange perspectives and assessments of the evolving security environment in Eastern Europe.”
The Ukrainian secret service estimates that the number of Russian troops along the border is around 90,000.
US officials have refused to address this person publicly, but cited Russian military build-up along the Ukrainian border as worrying.
“We don’t know what Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin could do,” State Department Price told reporters.
“We know the story and this story is not comforting at all,” he added, referring to the Russian invasion of Crimea in 2014.
Price also denied recent Russian criticism of US military exercises in the region, saying the US and its allies would continue to uphold the “rules-based international order”.
The Russian news agency TASS quoted Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu as saying that Moscow is seeing “a significant increase in the activity of US strategic bombers near the Russian border”.
Shoigu also alleged that US strategic bombers “practiced using nuclear weapons against Russia simultaneously from the west and east”.
The day before, Russia’s foreign intelligence service SVR also criticized the US and posted on its website that the current situation with Ukraine is comparable to the tensions with Georgia before the Russian invasion in 2008. Georgia paid a high price.
The US has provided Ukraine with $ 2.5 billion in security aid since 2014, including $ 400 million in 2021 alone.
The most recent deliveries include patrol boats for the Ukrainian navy and 80,000 kilos of ammunition for the Ukrainian armed forces.