West News Wire: While addressing a press conference at the NATO Foreign Ministers meeting in Riga, Latvia, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said ”The plans include efforts to destabilize Ukraine from within as well as large scale military operations.”
He said that Russia has made plans for aggressive moves against Ukraine. If Russia decides to invade Ukraine, United States will impose ‘high-impact’ sanctions.
”We don’t know whether President Putin has made the decision to invade. We do know that he is putting in place the capacity to do so in on short order should he so decide,” he said.
Meanwhile, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has vowed to provide political and practical support to Ukraine.
”The problem with Russia is that they are not transparent, that they have a very aggressive rhetoric and a track record showing they have used military exercises before as a disguise for aggressive actions against neighbors,” he said.
He added that US-led military organization must prepare for the worst as concern mounts that Russia could be preparing to invade Ukraine.
The West has accused Moscow of amassing “tens of thousands of additional combat forces” near Ukraine’s border.
Denying aggressive intent in the current crisis, Kremlin said it feared Ukraine was gearing up to try to recapture by force areas controlled by pro-Russian separatists in the Donbass region in the east of the country.
In response, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Europe faced a critical moment and Russia was trying to shift the blame onto Ukraine.
”I would like again to officially state that Ukraine does not plan any military offensive in Donbass. This is Russian propaganda nonsense in order to cover up Russia’s own preparations for a potential attack,” he added.
More than 13,000 people have been killed in a war that began in 2014 between Ukraine and pro-Russian separatists.
(With inputs from agencies)