Ukraine conflict: Russia criticizes Biden’s threatening gestures

Status: 01/20/2022 1:48 p.m

Russia has accused US President Biden of destabilization and warned of an escalation in the Ukraine conflict. This had previously irritated with statements on the extent of the threatened sanctions. Moscow announced large-scale naval maneuvers.

The Russian government has warned of the danger of an escalation in the Ukraine conflict in the face of new threats by US President Joe Biden against Russia. The statements do not contribute to relaxation and could lead to a destabilization of the situation, said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, according to the Interfax agency. “They could give false hope to the hotheads of some representatives of the Ukrainian leadership that they will decide to start a civil war again and solve the problem in the south-east (Donbass) by force,” Peskov said.

In the conflict, the same statements were “repeated again and again,” said Peskow. “They don’t help to ease tensions. Rather, they can help to destabilize the situation.”

Irritating threats from Biden

Biden had previously caused irritation with statements about a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine. The US President appeared to hint at a White House press briefing that threatened NATO sanctions could depend on the extent of a potential Russian invasion. “It’s one thing when it’s a minor intrusion,” Biden said. “But if they actually do what they are able to do with the forces gathered at the border, then it will be a catastrophe for Russia.”

For months, the United States and NATO have accused Russia of planning an attack on Ukraine. The government in Moscow rejects this every day.

Russia announces naval maneuvers

Amid tensions, Russia announced large-scale naval maneuvers in the Atlantic, Arctic, Pacific and Mediterranean. According to Russian news agencies, more than 140 ships, more than 60 aircraft and other military equipment are involved in the exercises planned for January and February. Around 10,000 soldiers are said to take part in the maneuvers.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has accused the West and Ukraine of using allegations of an imminent attack by Russia as a “cover for carrying out large-scale provocations of their own”. The latter included provocations “of a military nature,” said ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova. She referred to a British arms shipment to Ukraine.

Ukraine sees Western military support as a “blank check for a military operation in Donbass,” Zakharova said. The Ukrainian region is controlled by pro-Russian separatists.

Diplomacy at full speed

Diplomatic efforts to contain the crisis are currently in full swing. Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock received US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, her French colleague Jean-Yves Le Drian and Great Britain’s Deputy Foreign Minister James Cleverly for consultations in Berlin.

Putin and Biden had already spoken to each other twice in December about the conflict. The Kremlin did not rule out a new talk, but wanted to wait for Washington’s response to Moscow’s demands for binding security guarantees. “The presidents themselves decide about their contacts,” said Peskov. First, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his US colleague Antony Blinken want to meet in Geneva. It should be about the next steps in connection with the security guarantees, said Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zakharova.

Biden expects Russia to invade Ukraine

Katrin Brand, ARD Washington, 20.1.2022 5:39 a.m

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