The Secretary of State of the United States, Antony Blinken, warned Moscow of the "costs" that would have to invade Ukraine. He did so during his meeting with the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, who assured for his part that Russia does not want to" no conflict", but he asked for something in exchange for solving the existing ones: no more enlargements of NATO to the east. This implies that Ukraine will never enter the Atlantic Alliance, neither as a member nor as a volunteer spearhead.
Lavrov recalled the guarantees that the Kremlin has asked NATO to guarantee that it will not continue its expansion towards the Russian borders:
The allies have defended the freedom of each country to join the alliance. But in light of this, Lavrov recalled that "if NATO declares that no one has the right to tell another country that wishes to join NATO whether it can do so or not, we refer to an article of international law that any State is within its right to choose how to ensure your legitimate security interests". All a warning to Washington but also to Kiev, where any allusion to Russian "interests" in "security matters" runs cold.
Russian President Vladimir Putinit complained this week about allied military aid to Ukraine and warned NATO against installing missile defense systems in Ukraine. Lavrov, during his speech at the meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), continued in this line, warning that "the architecture of strategic stability is rapidly crumbling."
The West is to blame: "The Alliance's military infrastructure is approaching our borders." "The transformation of our neighboring countries into a platform for confrontation against Russia and the deployment of NATO forces near areas strategically important for our security is categorically unacceptable," said the Russian minister.
AN ARMED NEIGHBOR
In 2014, Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula of Ukraine and organized the armed phase of an insurrection in Donbas that has caused Kiev to lose control of two provincial capitals and live with an entrenched conflict. The price has been very high: 14,000 victims. Seven years have passed and it is increasingly difficult to find a Ukrainian who does not have a dead acquaintance at the front.
Russia has been, inadvertently, the great sponsor of NATO in the neighboring country. 58% of Ukrainians today want Ukraine to join the Atlantic Alliance, according to a poll last month. It is the highest percentage since the Reiting group has done these polls.
In March 2014, the same month that Russia annexed Crimea, the idea of joining NATOhe only had 13% support. Since the start of hostilities, Ukraine has already elected two presidents and has consolidated its identity on the basis of rejection of Russia, which attacked it in 2014 precisely to prevent it from joining the EU and NATO. "Now it turns out that this can happen even without joining NATO," says Alexander Baunov of the Moscow Carnegie Center, because Ukraine is already by definition "an aggrieved country", ready to "welcome foreign planes, ships and troops, reinforcing his own army."
One often speaks of "frozen conflict" to speak of Donbas. But combatants and civilians continue to die. There are variations in the balance of forces: Ukraine expects to receive more weapons from the US and is successfully using drones from Turkey (also a member of NATO) against the separatists. "Russia's military preparations and Putin's request for guarantees for its southwestern flank indicate that Russia recognizes the danger of coexisting" alongside a country like Ukraine, ready to "fortify itself." It is a scenario that Moscow "does not want to accept, although it does not yet know what to do about it," according to Baunov.
Lavrov criticized the "military supply of Ukraine" because "it instigates the spirit of Kiev to sabotage the Minsk peace accordsand fuels the illusion of an armed solution.
The appearance of missile systems in Ukraine will force Russia to react, "defends Russian senator Alexei Pushkov on his Telegram channel." Kiev, Brussels and Washington should take these warnings very seriously. I laughed
INTEGRITY OF UKRAINE
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Spain, José Manuel Albares, also spoke with Lavrov, before whom he defended the territorial integrity of Ukraine. And he criticized Belarus for its "instrumentalisation of migration."
From Russia, it is perceived that Joe Biden - who has closed the US mission of two decades in Afghanistan with controversy - is still caught between the necessary reorientation towards Asia, which is the new priority, and the mission to contain Russia in Europe, which it is still a hallmark of international identity for Washington. "According to Putin, the tension creates opportunities: these are the lessons of the Cold War", wrote days ago Fyodor Lukianov, president of the Council of Foreign and Defense Policy, in the Russian newspaper 'Kommersant'.
Russia accuses Ukraine of deploying half its army - 125,000 soldiers - in Donbas. Ukraine denounces that the Russian attack is imminent because there are 90,000 soldiers along its borders. Moscow admits a concentration of only about 10,000 soldiers for winter exercises.
Satellite photos revealed what the Ukrainian government says are units of the 41st Russian Army concentrated in Yelnya, a Russian city 260 kilometers north of the Ukrainian border. But - as in the escalation last April - analysts disagree on whether there are enough forces along the border for an invasion or whether Putin wants only to threaten to deter Ukraine or even to improve the Russian position in a new negotiation.
Do You Know What I Have Posted on