Saturday, January 29, 2022

White House vows diplomacy as Russia’s Putin

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The White House said on Thursday that Washington is keeping a close eye on Moscow and remains committed to diplomacy during the upcoming high-level talks. It comes amid increasingly heated rhetoric from Russia’s leader, who on Thursday accused the US and NATO allies of undermining his country as he continues to ramp up troops near Russia’s border with Ukraine.

“You expanded NATO in the east,” President Vladimir Putin said Thursday during his customary marathon end-of-year press conference, where he also accused Western intelligence services of trying to break up the Russian Federation by using terrorist groups. Was accused. “Of course, we asked you not to do as you promised you would not.

“But we were told: ‘Where is this written on the paper? It’s not, so you can make noise. We don’t care about your concerns.’ This happened year after year, and every time we pushed back and tried to stop or express our concern, [we were told], ‘No, talk about your concerns, we’ll do as we please.’ ,

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki speaks during a press briefing at the White House on December 23, 2021 in Washington.

“The facts are a funny thing,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday, responding to reporters’ questions about Putin’s allegations. “And the facts make clear that the only aggression we are witnessing on the border between Russia and Ukraine is military build-up by the Russians and the belligerent rhetoric of the Russian leader.”

Saki said the US would hold high-level talks with the Russian government in early January, but did not give further details on when the talks might take place, where they would be or who would be involved. Administration officials have refused to respond publicly to Moscow’s demands, including that NATO deny Ukraine membership and that the security alliance reduce its deployment to Central and Eastern Europe.

“Although Russia has chosen to handle things, we do not plan to hold talks publicly,” a senior administration official told reporters on Thursday. “It does not attack us constructively or the way we have progressed in diplomatic talks like this in the past. We are not going to respond to every offer or comment, including that of the Russian president.”

Vladimir Putin attends his annual news conference in Moscow on December 23, 2021.  Russian President urges West to "Immediately" Meet Russia's demand for security guarantees.

Vladimir Putin attends his annual news conference in Moscow on December 23, 2021. The Russian president has urged the West to “immediately” meet Russia’s demand for security guarantees.

Earlier this month, US President Joe Biden had a virtual call with Putin. During that call, the two men discussed the estimated 100,000 troops gathered on the Russian side of the border with Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visited troops in the eastern Donetsk region earlier this month and said his forces were capable of deterring a Russian attack.

Biden hosted Zelensky at the White House in September, and he assured him that the US was “strongly committed to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in the face of Russian aggression.”

The White House has also made it clear that there will be “significant consequences” if Russia does attack. These include harsher economic sanctions and increased security support for Ukraine.

“All plans are going well from our side, and we are ready to take action as and when required,” the administration official said.

But is Putin planning to cross that threshold? American Enterprise Institute analyst Fred Kagan doesn’t think the Russian president does: for one thing, Kagan wrote, it would be “the biggest, boldest, and riskiest military operation ever undertaken by Moscow since the 1979 invasion of Afghanistan.” started from.”

In an assessment published earlier this month, he wrote, “It will be a significant departure from the approaches Putin has relied on since 2015, and a major step forward in his desire to openly use Russian conventional military power- Change will happen.” “It would cost Russia an enormous amount of money and is likely to result in many thousands of casualties and destruction of vehicles and aircraft.”

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