The US said Moscow’s efforts to destabilize Ukraine were “part of the Russian playbook” after the UK issued a stern warning about an alleged conspiracy to install a puppet government in Kiev.
Antony Blinken, US Secretary of Statesaid on Sunday that Washington had been “concerned” for weeks about Russian tactics, including attempts by President Vladimir Putin to replace Kiev’s government.
He was speaking after the United Kingdom said in an extraordinary statement late Saturday that it had evidence that Russia was planning to install a pro-Moscow leader in Ukraine. and called the figure preferred by the Kremlin.
Asked about the threat to overthrow Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and his government, Blinken told CBS it was “part of the Russian playbook”.
Russia has joined forces with more than 100,000 troops near Ukraine’s border, promising “the most unpredictable and serious consequences for European security” if the US does not concede to its demands for a return to NATO enlargement.
Blinken told CBS that the US remains committed to diplomacy with Russia, but at the same time builds “defense and deterrence”.
“We have now provided more security assistance to Ukraine this year than in any previous year. We have gathered allies and partners around the world. “We are preparing for massive consequences for Russia if it invades Ukraine again,” he told NBC.
The US tried to find common ground with Moscow on issues such as arms control, but warned that Russia’s nuclear grievances against the trans-Atlantic military alliance – which would essentially rewrite the entire post-Cold War security order, if complied with – were unacceptable. .
US and European allies swore “crippling” sanctions against Russia for aggression against Ukraine and tried to expose his plans by releasing selected intelligence, but they struggled to agree on the details of how to respond.
The UK’s Office of Foreign, Commonwealth and Development named the pro-Russian leader who wanted to install Moscow in Ukraine as Yevhen Murayev, a former Ukrainian MP who owns a major TV station but did not provide evidence. Murayev denied the claim and also mocked it.
Russia’s foreign ministry has dismissed the allegations as “nonsense” and accused the UK of escalating tensions over Ukraine.
The Russian embassy in London said: “The logic is simple: do not let a day go by without accusing Russia of preparing a ‘threatening’ invasion of Ukraine, and on this composite ‘basis’ try to defeat the ideological leader. of the ‘free world’. ‘defends himself against’ autocrats’.
Tensions among Western allies washed up again in public over the weekend as head of Germany’s navy thank you after saying Putin “just wants respect” and that Crimea – annexed by Russia in 2014 – will never be returned to Ukraine.
Blinken insisted that the “Germans very much share our concern” about Russian aggression and were part of a united front between Europe and the USA.
“I am very convinced that there will be a united response to whatever Russia does,” he said, whether Moscow sends forces to Ukraine or resorts to the use of “hybrid actions, cyber attacks, attempts at a government to bring about a fall “, he told CBS.
Washington this week imposed sanctions on four individuals who accused them of trying to destabilize Ukraine on behalf of the Russian government. They included Vladimir Sivkovich, former deputy head of Ukraine’s national security and defense council, who was quoted by the UK on Saturday as one of Ukraine’s politicians with continued ties to Russian intelligence services.
Blinken told CBS that while the US is engaged in diplomacy, NATO “will continue to be significantly strengthened if Russia commits renewed acts of aggression”.
The US has promised to send a written response to Russia’s draft security proposals this week after talks with Moscow in Geneva and Brussels failed to reach a breakthrough