Monday, January 24, 2022

Russian diplomat leaves military deployment in Cuba, Venezuela Nation World News

MOSCOW ( Associated Press) – Russia on Thursday intensified bets on Ukraine in a showdown with the West, with a top diplomat saying it would not exclude Russian military deployments in Cuba and Venezuela if tensions with the United States escalate.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, who led the Russian delegation to Monday’s talks with the United States in Geneva, said in televised remarks that he would neither confirm nor rule out the possibility that Russia would give military assets to Cuba and Venezuela. can send.

Talks in Geneva and Wednesday’s NATO-Russia meeting in Vienna failed to close the gap on Moscow’s security demands between the build-up of Russian troops near Ukraine. While Moscow sought to halt NATO expansion, Washington and its allies strongly rejected them as a nonstarter.

Speaking in an interview with the Russian RTVI TV broadcast, Ryabkov said that “it all depends on the actions of our American counterparts,” adding that President Vladimir Putin has warned that Russia may take military-technical measures. If America provokes Moscow and turns on the military, the pressure on it.

Ryabkov said the US and its allies’ refusal to consider the key Russian demand for guarantees against the expansion of the coalition in Ukraine and other ex-Soviet countries raises doubts about the continuation of talks.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov noted “some positive elements and nuances” during the talks, but called them “failed” because of disagreements over Russia’s key demands.

“The talks were initiated to get specific answers to concrete key issues, and disagreements on those key issues persisted, which is bad,” he said in a conference call with reporters.

Peskov warned that US-Russian ties would be “completely broken” if the proposed sanctions targeting Russian President Vladimir Putin and other top civilian and military leaders were adopted. The measures, proposed by Senate Democrats, would also target major Russian financial institutions if Moscow sends troops to Ukraine.

Peskov criticized the proposals as an attempt to increase pressure on Moscow during the talks, saying it would not work.

“It pertains to sanctions, which effectively amount to an initiative to sever ties, taking into account the inevitable substantial backlash,” he warned, adding that the Russians are trying to protect their interests in ways. will answer.

The talks take place near Ukraine’s eastern border in the form of an estimated 100,000 battle-ready Russian soldiers, tanks and heavy military equipment. The buildup has caused deep concern in Kiev and in the West that Moscow is preparing for an invasion. Russia denies that it is considering an invasion and instead accuses the West of endangering its security by deploying military personnel and equipment in Central and Eastern Europe.

Peskov rejected the West’s call for Russia to help defuse tensions by pulling back troops from areas near Ukraine, noting that the country could move them wherever necessary on its territory. is free to.

“It is hardly possible for NATO to direct us where we should move our armed forces on Russian territory,” he said.

Peskov underlined that Russia is ready to continue the talks but wants them to produce results. “There will be no lack of political will to continue the talks,” he said.

Tensions around Ukraine and Russia’s demands on the West were reintroduced at Thursday’s meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Vienna.

Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau, who took the position of President-Office of the OSCE, noted in his opening speech that “the risk of war in the OSCE region is now greater than ever in the last 30 years.”

“For several weeks, we have been facing the prospect of a major military escalation in Eastern Europe,” he said. “We have recently heard renewed discussions about the demand for security guarantees and areas of impact relating to a significant portion of the OSCE region. All of these aspects require a serious international assessment and appropriate response.”

Rao stressed the need to “focus on peaceful resolution of conflict in and around Ukraine … in full respect of Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and unity within internationally recognized borders.”

In 2014, Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula after ousting its Moscow-allied leader and threw its weight behind a separatist insurgency in the country’s east, where more than 14,000 people died in more than seven years of fighting. went.

A peace deal signed by France and Germany in 2015 has largely helped end fighting, but skirmishes continue and efforts to negotiate a political settlement have failed.

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Emily Schultheis reported from Vienna.

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