The Pentagon has warned that Russia is always accumulating enough military assets along the Ukrainian border to launch an invasion. This is an accumulation that has given the Kremlin a “range of choice”, including attacks aimed at occupying the entire country.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin made an assessment on Friday when Russian President Vladimir Putin described Washington’s response to Kremlin’s security demands. Was not enoughRaises a new question as to whether the diplomatic channel for resolving standoffs has been closed.
In summary, warnings from Washington and Moscow seemed to bring both NATO and Russian troops closer to the foothold of the war.The U.S.-Atlantic alliance says it will not put troops into Ukrainian soil if Russia attacks, but some allies say Hurry and arm Ukrainian army supported by the United States.
The hardening rhetoric surprised Kiev leaders. They expressed concern that the expansion of brinkmanship could put Europe in total conflict. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky urged US and other Western supporters on Friday to mitigate the rattling of their sabers.
“I understand what the risks are,” Zelensky said in a press conference, disagreeing with some of the Pentagon’s assessments and “greater escalation than last spring when Russia’s military buildup began. Can’t be seen. ” “I don’t need this panic,” he added.
Despite Zelensky’s plea, the United States and the West continued to prepare for the war. US military planners are preparing an army of 8,500 to deploy to NATO countries in Eastern Europe to protect aspects of the alliance. General Mark Milley, chairman of the United States Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the four NATO members border Ukraine and the treaty promises mean Washington is obliged to protect them.
“In the near future, we plan to move troops to Eastern Europe and NATO countries,” President Joe Biden said later on Friday. “Not too much.”
Austin said Putin had gathered enough troops to initiate the invasion, but the U.S. believed that the Russian president had “not yet made a final decision to use these troops against Ukraine.” rice field.
Still, the accumulation reached the point that “there are multiple options available to him, including the seizure of cities and important territories,” Austin added.
At a press conference in the Pentagon, Millie agreed with the assessment. “There are 100,000 troops. There are combined arms, ground operations, cannons, rockets, air and all the other parts that come with it. It could be launched with a very slight warning,” he said. Said.
US officials have urged Putin to resign, as the road to diplomatic resolutions remains open. However, Putin said in a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron that a US written response to Russia’s security demands had been sent to Moscow. Earlier this weekDid not address his greatest concern: NATO enlargement towards the Russian frontier.
In a statement, the Kremlin summarized Putin’s comments on Macron, “noting the fact that the US and NATO responses did not take into account basic Russian concerns such as preventing NATO expansion.” Said.
But in Paris, a senior French official told Putin that “he wasn’t looking for a conflict” to Macron.
As diplomacy stagnated, the United States and its allies continued to train themselves in preparation for the economic collapse of Russia’s aggression. The United States and the EU have pledged to work together to protect Europe’s energy supply in the event of an attack disrupting gas transport to the continent.
In addition, the Biden administration has met with US banks to warn of possible financial damage from the massive economic sanctions Washington has vowed to cause during the aggression.
“As we have revealed, in addition to the enormous economic and diplomatic costs Russia incurs, the move to Ukraine will achieve what Russia says it does not want-NATO Alliance. Has been strengthened and resolved, “Austin said.
U.S. is discussing with Gas producers like Qatar European Commission President Biden and Ursula von der Leyen said in a joint statement, “We are working with governments and market operators” to secure emergency supplies to fill Europe’s shortages. Stated.
As part of that effort, the EU is preparing to send a delegation to Azerbaijan. Russia supplies 40% of EU gas, and authorities are concerned that Moscow could counterattack Western sanctions by reducing pipeline flow.
Brussels is also in talks with several Asian countries on the possibility of LNG swap trading, Commission officials said. “What we do is get in touch with one of our suppliers as much as possible,” they added.
EU energy commissioner Kadori Simson will fly to Azerbaijan early next month to strengthen support for additional gas flows to Europe, with the country’s Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, according to EU officials. Have a meeting.
Fatih Birol, head of the International Energy Agency, said this month that Moscow has already curtailed gas supplies to Europe, with Russia’s gas exports to Europe year-on-year in the last three months of 2021. He pointed out that it decreased by 25%.
The IEA believes that Russia is controlling at least one-third of the gas it can send to Europe.
Additional reports by Polina Ivanova in Moscow, Victor Mallet in Paris, Gary Silverman in New York and Roman Olearchyk in Kiev
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