On Thursday, Russia expressed concern about a possible conflict escalation in eastern Ukraine. The US issued a warning to Russia to avoid war with Ukraine.
Western and Ukrainian leaders have worried about Russian military amassing near Ukraine, fearing an invasion. However, the Kremlin has emphasized it has no intention and accused Ukraine and allies of covering up their aggressive designs.
Meeting in Stockholm
On Thursday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned Sergey Lavrov, Russian Foreign Minister, at a meeting in Stockholm.
“If Russia decides to pursue confrontation, there will be serious consequences,” adding that “the best way to avert a crisis is through diplomacy.”
In Moscow, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that “the Ukrainian authorities’ aggressive and increasingly intensive provocative action on the line of contact” incites a possible spark of hostilities.
“The probability of hostilities in Ukraine still remains high,” Peskov said.
On Russian state television, Denis Pushilin, the head of the self-proclaimed separatist republic in Donetsk, claimed that he could turn to Russia for military assistance if the region faces a Ukrainian attack.
Russia’s domestic security agency announced they had seized three Ukrainian men accused of spying and plotting an explosion.
Dmytro Kuleba, Ukrainian Foreign Minister, tweeted, “we are closely working together on developing a comprehensive deterrence package, including severe economic sanctions, to demotivate Russia from further aggressive moves.”
Russian Stance On War With Ukraine
Russia and Ukraine have remained in a tense tug-of-war since 2014 when Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula. More than 14,000 people have died in the fighting.
Russian President Vladimir Putin warned NATO against deploying its troops and weapons to Ukraine, describing it as a red line for Russia. He said Russia would seek Western guarantees preventing further NATO expansion near Russia’s borders.
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