Russia threatens retaliation if Ukraine’s demands are not met

Moscow (AP) —Russia goes west on Wednesday in fear that Moscow is planning an invasion of Ukraine if the United States and its allies reject security demands and continue their “aggressive” policies. He put pressure on him and warned that he would take “retribution measures” promptly.

Russia has repeatedly denied such a design, but the United States and its NATO allies are worried as Russia has gathered an estimated 100,000 troops near the Ukrainian border and launched a series of war games in the region. There is.

At the heart of the standoffs are questions about the future of Ukraine. Russia demanded that NATO not recognize that country or other former Soviet countries as members, and that the alliance roll back the deployment of troops in other former Soviet block countries. Some of these, like the pledge of membership, create a seemingly unruly stalemate that many fears end only in war, rather than NATO’s starting lineup.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergeĭ Viklov spoke with lawmakers Wednesday, saying he and other senior officials would advise President Vladimir Putin on the next step after receiving a written response to the request from the United States. These answers are expected this week — although the United States and its allies have already revealed that they have rejected Russia’s top demands.

“If the West continues its aggressive course, Moscow will take the necessary retaliation measures,” he said.

Russia is currently waiting for an American reply, but Viklov said it wouldn’t wait forever.

When asked by lawmakers whether Russia could expand its military cooperation with Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua as part of its retaliation, Moscow has close ties with these countries and is trying to deepen them. I answered.

Earlier this month, Viklov’s adjutant explicitly refused to exclude the deployment of Russian military assets to Cuba and Venezuela (much closer to the United States than Ukraine) if Moscow’s security requirements were not met. ..

NATO said this week it is strengthening deterrence in the Baltic region and the United States. Ordered an army of 8,500 with higher vigilance Possibility of expansion to Europe. Western nations have also sent large numbers of weapons to help Ukraine strengthen its defenses.

Ukrainian authorities said Trying to calm the nerves..

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Wednesday that the concentration of Russian troops near Ukraine poses a threat, but “their numbers are currently insufficient for large-scale attacks.”

“They still lack some important military elements and systems to launch a large-scale, full-scale attack,” Kreva told reporters.

He said that triggering an alarm could itself be the goal, as others do. Russia wants to destabilize Ukraine by “spreading panic, increasing pressure on Ukraine’s financial system and launching cyberattacks,” he said.

“President Putin will be pleased to see the plan succeed so that he does not even have to rely on military force to put Ukraine in a vulnerable position,” he said.

His comments were the latest from Ukrainian officials who have been trying to reassure the public. In a second speech on television late Tuesday, President Wolodimirzerensky said Ukraine “is strong enough to control everything and thwart attempts at destabilization.” rice field.

Some rounds of high stakes diplomacy failed to bring breakthroughs at standoffs, but another attempt was underway on Wednesday.

Presidential advisers from Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany will meet in Paris to discuss how to revive a stagnant peace agreement. Eastern Ukraine..

Following the expulsion of the Kremlin-friendly president in Kiev in 2014, Moscow annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula and cast its weight behind the separatist rebellion in the eastern industrial center of Ukraine. The battle between Ukrainian troops and Russian-backed rebels has killed more than 14,000 people, and efforts to reach reconciliation have been stalled.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Moscow expects a “candid” talk at the Paris Conference.

Russia has repeatedly accused Ukraine of planning to recapture areas dominated by rebels. This is what Kiev denies. On Wednesday, Viklov again claimed to encourage the West to launch an attack on Ukraine, rejecting Western talk about the imminent Russian invasion as “hysteria.”

In addition to military action, the United States and its allies threaten sanctions more than ever if Moscow sends its troops to Ukraine, but they say it’s best to keep guessing Putin, they give little detail. Not.

On Tuesday, US President Joe Biden told reporters Putin “continues to build troops along the Ukrainian border,” and the attack “will be the biggest invasion since World War II.” .. It will change the world. ” he Warned that there would be serious economic consequences For Putin, including personal sanctions in the event of an invasion.

Asked to comment on Biden’s statement, Peskov pointed out that the Russian president and other senior officials do not have assets in the West, but such US sanctions are “politically disruptive” to bilateral relations. I reconfirmed that it was “target”.

Britain has also promised sanctions, and Foreign Minister Liz Truss is calling on European countries to do more to support Ukraine.

Britain has ruled out the dispatch of combat troops, but has dispatched anti-tank weapons to Ukraine.

“We will strengthen our sanctions and enact legislation that will allow us to fully attack both Russian individuals and businesses and banks in the event of an intrusion,” she told the BBC. “The important thing is that all allies do the same thing.”

Amid heightened tensions, the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Germany and Canada are also moving to withdraw some diplomats and dependents from Kiev.


Yuras Karmanau in Kiev, Ukraine contributed to this report.