‘No signs that an armed conflict is inevitable,’ says German foreign minister
There are no signs yet that a new armed conflict between Ukraine and Russia will definitely happen, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock told Germany’s ARD TV channel on Feb. 13.
But she said Europe has found itself in an “extremely dangerous situation” amid the threat of a further Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Baerbock noted that during negotiations with Russia, the agenda includes the issue of “how we can ensure security together,” though the United States and NATO, of which Germany is a part, have both rejected the grand majority of so-called “security guarantees” Russia has demanded in exchange for de-escalation.
The German foreign minister insisted there had to be discussion about what steps could be taken in disarmament, as well as about greater transparency on both sides.
However, Russian negotiators have previously rebuffed NATO proposals on shared missile reductions in continental Europe, as well as a host of other security issues.
“Military conflicts in the heart of Europe are the worst thing for all of us,” Baerbock said, adding that the West is ready to continue the negotiation process at any moment, and attempts are being made through all channels to “keep Russia at the negotiating table.”
At the same time, she said that Moscow would face severe economic sanctions if the conflict still could not be avoided.
Baerbock added that an attack on Ukraine would have “extremely serious consequences for Russia.”
Russia’s potential invasion of Ukraine
On Feb. 11, the Reuters international news agency reported that U.S. President Joe Biden met his national security advisers in the White House Situation Room late on Feb. 10 to discuss Russia’s ongoing military build up around Ukraine.
A source familiar with the meeting said that Moscow’s rhetoric is hardening. Russia has also sailed six warships into the Black Sea and added more military equipment to Belarus, and leading U.S. officials to believe the crisis appears to be reaching a critical point.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has again said that the Ukrainian government has “everything under control.”
On Feb. 11, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that the U.S. government “continue to see very troubling signs of Russian escalation, including new forces arriving at the Ukrainian border.”
He warned that Russia could launch an invasion at any time, including during the Winter Olympics in Beijing.
The U.S.-based Politico political media outlet also reported on Feb. 11 that U.S. President Joe Biden told Western leaders that Russia would start a physical assault on Ukraine as soon as Feb. 16.
The U.S.-based Bloomberg news agency speculated that fresh Russian aggression against Ukraine could renew on Feb. 15. Russia in turn accused the Western media of a “large-scale disinformation campaign.”
Russia has deployed about 140,000 troops and equipment on the border with Ukraine.
Russia has officially denied its intention to carry out a large-scale invasion of Ukraine, while continuing to provide military assistance to its proxy groups in non-government controlled regions of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts.
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