Pentagon warns Russia could occupy Ukrainian cities, Kiev appeals calm

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The Pentagon warned on Friday that Russia had accumulated enough fighting power to occupy a significant area of ​​Ukraine’s cities and territories, and its leaders warned that the United States was exaggerating. Russian threat..

“We don’t believe it [Russian] President [Vladimir] Putin has made a final decision against Ukraine to use these troops, he clearly has that ability now, “Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin told reporters Friday.

Austin said in one of the military’s toughest public warnings to date, Russian leaders have multiple options.

Austin said there was still room for diplomatic achievements. However, General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke with him and frankly explained the impact of the potential aggression. The power that Mr Putin has accumulated At the Ukrainian border.

“If it were unleashed in Ukraine, it would be serious, very serious, and would result in a significant amount of casualties,” General Milly said. “I can imagine what it would look like in a crowded city or along a road, but it’s scary, terrible, and not necessary. I think diplomatic achievements are the way to go here.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin said the United States and NATO ignored his request for Ukraine.


Photo:

Alexei Nicolski / Zumapress

The disastrous remarks from Pentagon officials were an important departure from previous calls for calm by Ukrainian officials. Ukrainian leaders urged the European government to retain diplomats and urged the United States, both publicly and privately, to dial back the public rhetoric of being renewed. Russian invasion It may be imminent.

“It will panic the market and panic the financial sector,” President Volodymyr Zelensky told reporters late Friday. “We need people’s unity. People have to be convinced about their army, about their president. People should trust their government and special services.”

Ukrainian defense minister Oleksandr Reznikov said Friday that the number of Russian troops along the border was not significantly different from what was deployed last April.The development was the largest since Moscow Annexation Crimea In 2014, it began to instigate a rebellion in the eastern part of Ukraine’s industry. He said Kiev is currently monitoring about 112,000 Russian troops, or about 130,000 in the Navy and Air Force, while monitoring about 126,000 in the spring.

Meanwhile, Putin said on Friday that the United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization ignored his request to refrain from any move he said would threaten Russia’s security. Ukraine crisis..

Putin’s remarks, released in the Kremlin’s reading of a conversation with French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday, focused head-on on the boiling crisis over Ukraine.He told French leaders that he would study written responses from both sides. Washington and NATO In response to his request, a US-led security alliance has banned Ukraine from joining so far, and NATO troops will be rolled back from parts of Eastern Europe. Only then will he decide what he calls “further action.”

After cybercrime, the expulsion of diplomats, and the clashes over the immigration crisis in Belarus, the build-up of military power along the Ukrainian border has further strained relations between Russia and the United States. The WSJ describes what is deepening the rift between Washington and Moscow. Photo Composite / Video: Michelle Inez Simon

According to US officials, the Western proposal made concessions to Russia, including restrictions on military exercises that Moscow considers provocative. Ukrainian officials said they had been briefed on the allies’ response.

However, Russian leaders said his “fundamental concern”, the NATO military drawdown and the Ukrainian bar participating in the alliance, was ignored.

Moscow made the request after deploying tens of thousands of troops on the border of the former Soviet neighbors.In response, Washington has an unprecedented series. Economic sanctions if Russia invades..

Western officials said Moscow had prepared what appeared to be the final preparation for the invasion of Ukraine by sending medical units to the front lines and shifting to levels of preparation that past accumulations could not reach. ..

“I would like to emphasize once again that the threat is very real and imminent,” said John Sullivan, US Ambassador to Russia.

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Ukrainian soldiers having an anti-tank missile system on Friday.


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markiian lyseiko / EPA / Shutterstock

In contrast to Ukraine’s assessment, Mr. Sullivan said that Russia’s current military deployment is a “much larger project” than was seen last spring, and “a significant increase in military risks and threats.” I explained that it brings about.

The disagreement has led Washington’s European allies to distinguish between the dire US outlook and the more cautious view from Kiev. In most cases, the European Union government has kept diplomats in the country a few days after the United States and Britain returned non-essential embassy staff.

“We don’t see the need so far,” said Marko Mihkelson, chairman of the Estonian Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee. “I feel positive. I don’t know how to calculate this, but this is not a new situation for Ukraine.”

“They haven’t seen here that the situation could escalate in the coming weeks or so,” said Mif Kelson, who was in Kiev for a private session with the Ukrainian military chief. .. “But again, no one knows. No one knows what’s in Putin’s head.”

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“People must be convinced about their army and about their president,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Friday.


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Distributor / Agence France-Presse-Presse / Getty Images

Personally, Ukrainian officials have expressed dissatisfaction with US responders to Washington’s position, US officials said. According to officials, the strategy is to make it clear to Moscow that Washington is monitoring every move and is ready to respond immediately if an attack begins.

However, Ukrainian leadership is concerned that preparation and panic need to be balanced.

Ukrainian President Zelensky urged Ukrainians not to worry on Friday. He previously said the country had been in war for almost eight years and branded the fear of aggression as a rumor.

At a press conference in Kiev, Mr. Zelensky said he was not “misunderstood” with President Biden, but criticized the United States and Britain for evacuating the embassy and added unfounded vigilance. “They are the last people to leave the ship and I don’t think we have the Titanic here,” he said.

He also said that NATO countries do not want Ukraine as a member just because they may be involved in conflict to protect Ukraine. “If Ukraine is a member of NATO and God forbids anything wrong, they need to protect their members,” he said.

“If Ukraine begins to scream about the massive threat from Russia, investors will make a fuss,” said Andrey Regenko, a former Navy captain who was the Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary of the Ukrainian Navy.

Write in Vivian Salama vivian.salama@wsj.comDrew Hinsho drew.hinshaw@wsj.com And Gordon LeBold Gordon.Lubold@wsj.com

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Pentagon warns Russia could occupy Ukrainian cities, Kiev appeals calm

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