US warns Russia could attack Ukraine ‘at any point’
WASHINGTON DC (Kurdistan 24) – Concerns that Russia could attack Ukraine stepped up another notch on Tuesday, following an announcement from Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.
On Monday, Lukashenko announced that Belarus would hold joint military exercises with Russian forces in Belarus, starting next month. At the same time, Russian forces and equipment began arriving in Belarus.
Belarus borders Ukraine, which lies to the south, as well as Lithuania and Poland, which lie to its west. The Russian-Belarusian military exercises will be held in south and western Belarus, putting Russian troops on Ukraine’s border with Belarus, in addition to the 100,000 forces currently mobilized on Russia’s long border with Ukraine, which extends nearly 1,500 miles.
In addition, the exercises will place Russian forces on the borders of Poland and Lithuania, both of which are NATO members and members of the European Union.
“Our view is this is an extremely dangerous situation, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki warned on Tuesday. “We’re now at a stage where Russia could at any point launch an attack on Ukraine.”
A succession of three meetings held last week in Europe between—the US and Russia; NATO and Russia: and within the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)—failed to reduce tensions, but, rather, the talks ended in even more acrimony.
Thus, the State Department announced on Tuesday that Secretary of State Antony Blinken was leaving later that day to confer on Wednesday with Ukraine’s President and Foreign Minister, after which he will travel to Berlin on Thursday, where he will meet with his German, French, and British counterparts, before heading to Geneva, where he will speak with Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, on Friday.
“Some officials in Washington” are now “fearing the worst,” The Washington Post reported on Tuesday. If some conflict were to break out, it “could be the largest ground war in Europe in decades.”
The Biden administration has repeatedly warned Moscow that if it attacks Ukraine, the US will impose, in concert with its European allies, punishing economic sanctions.
The threat, however, does not appear to have been so effective. Indeed, writing in The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday, Prof. Walter Mead, a long-time scholar of US national security policy, criticized that approach as woefully insufficient.
“There is only one option that would stop a Russian invasion,” Mead wrote, “and that is the one that all the serious players in Washington say is off the table: dispatching an American and coalition force to defend Ukraine.”
“Vladimir Putin is not ready for war with the US,” he continued, and “informing his gamble is a well-grounded conviction that America is not committed enough to Ukraine to defend it by force.”