Blinken Tells Russia To Back Off As They Mobilize A Threatening Number Of Troops

Geez, as if China constantly threatening war was not enough. Russia is mobilizing troops along the Ukrainian border and is expected to soon have a force of 175k troops, likely ready to invade. Sec. Blinken and the U.N. have warned Russia to back off but so far they are feigning ignorance.

The United States issued a strong warning to Russia on Thursday, calling for it to stay away from Ukraine.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken held talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at an OSCE meeting in Stockholm where he warned of “serious consequences” if Moscow decided to pursue confrontation.

Ukrainian and Western officials are worried that a Russian troop buildup near Ukraine could herald an invasion.”

“We don’t know President Putin’s intent. We don’t know if he’s made a decision to take renewed, aggressive action against Ukraine, but what we do know is that he’s putting in place the capacity to do so and to do so on on short, on short notice,” Blinken told Euronews after his meeting, adding that concern was widespread among European partners.

“What’s most important for Russia to understand is that actions have have consequences. Those consequences are real. They’re not in Russia’s interests, and having a conflict is in no one’s interest,” he went on.

President Biden, said Blinken, had told President Putin that the US wanted a “stable, predictable relationship with Russia”, but if Moscow moved “aggressively again against Ukraine” this would be moving in “exactly the opposite direction”.

“I don’t think that’s good for for any of us, but president was equally clear if Russia chooses to act recklessly, we’ll respond.”

NATO is also telling Russia to back off.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said the NATO ministers will “together send an unmistakable message to the Russian government: NATO’s support for Ukraine is unbroken and its independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty are not up for discussion.”

“Russia would have to pay a high price for any form of aggression,” Maas said. “Honest and sustainable de-escalation steps, which can only go via the route of talks, are all the more important now. I will not tire of stressing that the door to such talks is still open to Russia.”

An unclassified U.S. intelligence report made public later Friday cited recent artillery, troop and materiel movements near Ukraine’s border in saying Russia was planning for the possibility of a military offensive with 175,000 troops early next year.

“The plans involve extensive movement of 100 battalion tactical groups … along with armor, artillery, and equipment,” according to the U.S. report, which said about half of those units were already near Ukraine’s border. The intelligence finding was first reported by The Washington Post. A Biden administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the finding, confirmed it to The Associated Press.

Amid the mounting tensions, Putin’s foreign affairs adviser Yuri Ushakov told reporters Friday that arrangements have been made for a Putin-Biden call in the coming days, adding that the date will be announced after Moscow and Washington finalize details.”

Konstantin Kosachev, a deputy speaker of the upper house of parliament, reaffirmed Moscow’s denial that it was pondering an attack.

“We don’t have any plans to attack Ukraine. We don’t have any heightened military activity near Ukraine’s borders. There is no preparation underway for an offensive,” Kosachev told Russia’s state TV channel Russia-24.”

Yea those troops are just visiting not getting ready to invade… Russia did this before earlier this spring claiming it was in “response to threatening activity” by NATO, withdrawing them in April. But who knows what excuse they will have this time.

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