West must step down aggression: Putin on Ukraine tensionstext_fields
Russia has 'nowhere to retreat' if the West continues to bring an aggressive stance to all forms of diplomatic conduct Russian President Vladimir Putin has emphasized during a meeting with military officials this week, reported Reuters. He criticized the "aggressive" stance taken by Washington which has threatened to impose sanctions on Russia if it violates Ukranian territory.
Thousands of troops are gathered on the eastern border with Ukraine promoting tension that Russia may launch an invasion as early as next month, a claim which Moscow flatly denies.
"What the U.S. is doing in Ukraine is at our doorstep... And they should understand that we have nowhere further to retreat to. Do they think we'll just watch idly?...If the aggressive line of our Western colleagues continues, we will take adequate military-technical response measures and react harshly to unfriendly steps," The Russian leader was quoted as saying by Reuters.
During diplomatic interventions by France, Germany and the USA, Russia has insisted that the US give in to its demands of security ties which will guarantee that NATO will not extend further influence in the region, nor deploy missiles against Russia over the Ukraine issue. Moscow reacted angrily to US promises of NATO membership to Ukraine as it claims a threat to Russian security and sovereignty.
Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu claimed that US agents were preparing to use chemical warfare in eastern Ukraine, where Ukranian forces have been battling pro-Russia separatists.
The US has expressed clear support for Ukranian forces as of this month, with President Joe Biden assuring support to Kiev.
"We have made clear that any further aggression against Ukraine would carry a very high price. We will also continue to support our close partner Ukraine, politically and practically. And we stand up for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and we stand also for Ukraine's right to choose its own path," NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in an official statement following a meeting with Romanian PM Nicolae Ciucă.
Karen Donfried, the U.S. State Department's top diplomat for Europe, said in a briefing with reporters that Washington was prepared to engage with Moscow via three channels - bilaterally, through the NATO-Russia Council that last met in 2019, and at the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
Washington is considering tough export control measures to disrupt Russia's economy if Putin invades Ukraine, a Biden administration official told Reuters, and the measures would be discussed in a meeting of senior officials on Tuesday.