The United States warned Moscow that after Western intelligence showed that Russia had assembled troops on the Ukrainian border, its military aggression against Ukraine would be a “serious mistake.”
U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Brinken told reporters on Friday that Washington is “very concerned about the irregular movement of the troops that we see… Ukraine’s borders.”
“It would be a serious mistake for Russia to repeat the mistakes of 2014,” he added, referring to Moscow’s annexation of the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine.
The warning was issued after Washington and Kiev notified EU allies this week that the increase in troops may indicate that Russia is preparing for an invasion of Ukraine. Moscow has been fueling the war of proxy separatism in the Donbass region in the east of the country. Kiev said that the conflict has caused more than 14,000 deaths.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissed these concerns on Friday, saying that Russia “has no threat to anyone.”
“We have repeatedly stated that the actions of our armed forces on our territory should not cause anyone’s attention,” he added.
In a statement issued on Friday, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and Florence Pally expressed similar specific concerns about Russia’s military attack on Ukraine after meeting with their Russian counterparts in Paris. .
The statement said: “The two ministers expressed concern about the deteriorating security situation in Ukraine and clearly warned that if the territorial integrity of Ukraine is further damaged, it will bring serious consequences.”
A senior EU official said that after US officials reported developments last week, the EU has asked the Russian authorities to provide information about the military buildup.
“We see the assembly again [of troops] And we are negotiating with our partners in the United States and the United Kingdom on their assessments. This is a worrying development and we are watching closely,” the official added.
An adviser to Ukrainian President Zelensky told the Financial Times on Friday that Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksi Reznikov will travel to Washington early next week for further consultations.
“The real question is what measures the United States and NATO will take to prevent any such planned Russian aggression,” the adviser added.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitro Kuleba said after meeting Brinken in Washington on Wednesday that Ukraine has asked the United States to provide emergency security support, including intelligence sharing or air defense systems, “or whatever.”
The Biden administration is concerned that Moscow’s intentions toward Ukraine may undermine the preliminary US-Russian negotiations on cyber attacks and arms control. This month, CIA Director Bill Burns led an American delegation to Moscow to discuss issues such as Ukraine.
At the same time, relations between Russia and the European Union have been tense in recent months due to what European policymakers have said that Moscow has refused to provide additional gas supplies.
This week, tensions intensified when the European Union accused Belarus, a Russian ally, of deploying “gangster” tactics on its border with Poland to encourage immigrants to the region to provoke instability on the EU border.
The Russian Defense Ministry said on Thursday that Russia has sent two strategic bombers to perform patrol missions in Belarus and conducted joint military exercises in the country near the Polish border.