Russian military build-up puts Washington on edge

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Washington is at the forefront as Russia’s military build-up threatens a confrontation, with fears escalating following reports that US intelligence shows Russian forces are preparing to push into Ukraine.

Even as the country’s capital becomes quiet for the Thanksgiving weekend, the Biden administration has to contend with reports that nearly 100,000 Russian soldiers are stationed at various locations on the country’s western border, with no sign of declining.

Tensions have risen so high that the US embassy in Ukraine on Wednesday warned of “unusual Russian military activity” near Ukraine’s eastern border and on the annexed Crimean peninsula, and told US citizens not to travel there.

“U.S. citizens are reminded that security conditions along the border may change with little or no notice,” the embassy said.

The new warnings come when Ukraine, a strategic US ally, this week began publicly trumpeting that Russia could invade as soon as January or early February, much like when it annexed the Crimean peninsula in 2014 and supported an uprising in the eastern part of the country. which continued. More than 14,000 people have since been killed in that conflict.

A similar land grab, which would be the second in less than 10 years, has global consequences and could trigger a massive military conflict as well as geopolitical strife between Russia and Western nations.

“Our concern is that Russia may make the serious mistake of trying to re-establish what it did in 2014, when it gathered forces along the border, crossed into sovereign Ukrainian territory and did so, claiming – incorrectly – that it was provoked,” he said. Antony BlinkAntony BlinkThe CIA chief says that there will be consequences if Russia is behind the attacks with the “Havana syndrome”. Buttigieg has high name awareness, favorable grades in Biden Cabinet: survey US considers sending military advisers, weapons to Ukraine: report MORE said earlier this month.

But US officials are determined not to be taken by surprise by such a military operation, and Blinken on Saturday indicated that the administration was preparing for an aggressive Russian maneuver.

“We know the textbook to try to quote some illusory provocation from Ukraine or another country and use it as an excuse for what Russia plans to do all the time,” Blinken said when traveling to Senegal.

Reports also surfaced this week that the Biden administration is considering its options to deter the Kremlin, including sending military advisers and new weapons to Kiev.

Such an aid package could include helicopters, grenade launchers, anti-aircraft systems such as stinger missiles and new Javelin anti-tank and anti-tank missiles.

US officials have also reportedly talked to European allies about forming a new sanctions package that could take effect if Russia invades.

State Department officials have not publicly mentioned any new weapons or sanctions packages, but an official told The Hill on Tuesday that the administration has “shown that the United States is willing to use a number of tools to deal with harmful Russian acts and we will not hesitate” to use these and other tools in the future. ”

Also in an attempt not to be caught on foot, government officials have shared intelligence with allied countries.

White House Press Secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiBiden: Convictions in the Arbery case “not enough” Buttigieg has high name awareness, favorable grades in Biden Cabinet: survey Overnight Energy & Environment – Biden will release 50 million barrels from the oil reserve MORE on Monday told reporters that the administration has “had extensive interactions with our European allies and partners in recent weeks, including with Ukraine.”

She added that the United States “has also had discussions with Russian officials about Ukraine and US-Russian relations in general.”

Pentagon officials have also been in close contact with their counterparts, with the Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark MilleyMark MilleyDefense and national security overnight – Russian military moves give cause for concern Drones are a strategic responsibility of the United States The US embassy warns of “unusual Russian military activity” near Ukraine’s border, in Crimea MORE spoke on the phone with Lieutenant General Valeriy Zaluzhny, Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian military, on Monday.

Milley too talked on the phone on Tuesday with Russia’s top military officer, General Valery Gerasimov.

Military leaders discussed “several security-related issues of concern”, Colonel Dave Butler, spokesman for the Joint Staff, sa in a reading of the conversation.

In addition, the administration has sent patrol boats from the US Navy to help Ukrainian fleet against Moscow in the Black Sea.

But even with its threatening stance, one that many NATO nations have publicly noted, Russia continues to deny that it has any intention of invading its neighbor as it did almost eight years ago.

Russian spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Tuesday that his accumulation of forces and equipment did not “pose a threat to anyone and should not cause concern to anyone.”

He instead blamed a “targeted information campaign” from Western nations as the reason for “building tensions” and said that if the United States sent additional military aid to Ukraine, it could lead “to a further deterioration of the situation at the border.”

However, Western nations are not convinced, let alone with Russia conducting further military exercises this week, according to a Wednesday report from Interfax.

Russia reportedly had fighter jets and ships carrying out air strikes and fighting air strikes, including about ten aircraft crews and ships from the Black Sea Fleet’s Novorossiysk naval base, Interfax wrote.

Ukraine, for its part, is also preparing for any military maneuver with its own exercise this week.

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