© Reuters. File picture: On May 19, 2021, during the Arctic Council Ministerial Summit in Reykjavik, Iceland, US Secretary of State Anthony Brinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov arrived at Harpa Concert Hall to participate in the meeting Time gesture.
Authors: Humeyra Pamuk and Johan Ahlander
STOCKHOLM (Reuters)-U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Brinken stated on Thursday a few hours before his meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov that NATO allies have an “unwavering commitment” to Ukraine’s sovereignty because Tensions between the East and the West in Ukraine are escalating.
At the beginning of the talks with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitro Kuleba, Brinken reiterated Washington’s concerns about Russia’s build-up of troops on the border, which triggered the threat of further Western sanctions against Moscow.
Kuleba said on Twitter that Ukraine, which is not a NATO member but is seeking to move closer to the Atlantic Alliance, is cooperating with Western countries to develop a “comprehensive deterrence plan including severe economic sanctions” to prevent Russia’s aggression.
“The United States has a firm commitment to territorial integrity, sovereignty, and independence from Ukraine… Not only the United States, but all of our NATO allies hold this view. Brinken told Culeba during the talks.
“This has been very, very obvious in our conversations over the past two days,” he added.
During his meeting with Lavrov during the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) summit in Stockholm at 10:15 GMT, the senior US diplomat is expected to personally convey the threat of new sanctions if Moscow fails . Stop the formation of troops on the Ukrainian border.
Ukraine has become a major hotspot between Russia and the West, and relations between the two countries have deteriorated to their worst level in three decades since the end of the Cold War. Kiev said that Russia has assembled more than 90,000 soldiers near its long common border.
Moscow accused Kiev of continuing its military reinforcements. He refuted the inflammatory suggestion that he was preparing to attack Ukraine and defended the right to deploy troops on his territory if he deems it appropriate.
But President Vladimir Putin also stated that if NATO deploys missiles in Ukraine, it can strike Moscow within a few minutes, and Russia will be forced to take action.
On Wednesday, after the NATO foreign ministers’ meeting, Brinken delivered a speech in Riga, expressing the United States’ concerns about what he called Russia’s internal efforts to destabilize Ukraine.
“We don’t know whether President Putin made the decision to invade. We know that he is building capabilities as quickly as possible if he wants to,” Brinken said.
A senior State Department official told reporters on Wednesday that Brinken will remind Lavrov during the talks that there is a diplomatic solution.
The official said: “In addition to specifying the cost of Russia’s operations, I believe the Secretary of State also wants to specify that there is a diplomatic withdrawal.”
The Kremlin merged the Black Sea Peninsula of Crimea into Ukraine in 2014, and then supported the rebels in fighting against government forces in Kiev in the east of the country. Kiev said that the conflict has killed 14,000 people and is still brewing.
In addition to Ukraine, other issues, including cybersecurity and the Kremlin’s treatment of its critics, also helped to bring Washington’s relationship with Moscow to a post-Cold War low.
Three Reuters sources said that US CIA Director William Burns raised the issue of Russian cyber attacks during a rare visit to Moscow earlier this month, where he met with senior security officials.
Another focus of East-West tensions is the refugee crisis on the border between Russian ally Belarus and NATO members Poland and Lithuania.
Western countries accuse Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko of organizing an immigration crisis in retaliation for the sanctions imposed on Minsk for its human rights record. Minsk blamed the West for the humanitarian crisis.