After unsubstantiated allegations that the Kremlin sent heavy artillery to the border between the two countries, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenski spoke with his American counterpart, Joe Biden. In addition, the Ukrainian Foreign Minister spoke with his counterparts from the United Kingdom and Germany. All support the Ukrainian position, while Russia warns that it would take “additional measures” if NATO deploys military in the area.
Since Ukraine denounced that Russia was sending troops to the Donbass border region, the tension has been rekindled that has not ceased since the Kremlin annexed Crimea to Russian territory. Unverified images circulating on social media suggest that Russia has been moving large quantities of tanks, armored personnel carriers and other equipment.
Although the Russian government has denied the allegations and says it is only supporting rebels who want Ukraine’s independence, the latter country has accelerated its diplomatic bridges in search of support.
This Friday, April 2, Dmytro Kuleba, Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs, spoke separately with his counterparts from the United Kingdom and Germany. They both backed Ukraine.
Following the phone call, British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said his country was “very concerned about the Russian military activity threatening Ukraine” and reaffirmed the UK’s support for “sovereignty and territorial integrity” of the United Kingdom. Ukrainians.
The topics of conversation were what has happened in Crimea and Donbass. The first territory was the one that Russia annexed in 2014, despite the fact that countries such as the United States and the 27 of the European Union consider this move as illegal and assure that Ukraine is the one that has sovereignty over the sector.
On the other hand, Donbass brings together the Donetsk and Luhansk territories. There are separatists there who want the independence of Ukraine and who are supported by Russia. Both Donbass and Crimea is where the Russians are supposedly deploying their artillery, although the Kremlin denounces that the Ukrainian government is planning an attack in those places.
Kuleba denied that position, at the same time that he discussed the call with the British secretary. “Big call with Dominic Raab about Russia’s escalation in Donbass and Crimea, as well as their propaganda spreading forgeries of ‘Ukraine plans escalation.’ Ukraine does not seek escalation. Ukraine seeks peace and the end of the occupation of its territories by political-diplomatic means, “he said on his Twitter account.
In addition to seeking the support of the United Kingdom, the Ukrainian minister advanced negotiations with Germany and, in the middle of it, spoke with Heiko Maas, German Foreign Minister.
The result was that the German office gave a boost to the Ukrainian government. “We are closely monitoring the situation on the Ukraine-Russia border. We agree with Ukraine that reducing escalation is now crucial so as not to jeopardize the ceasefire, ”the entity announced after the call.
The conversation between the presidents of Ukraine and the United States
But those were not the only steps that the Ukrainian Administration carried out this Friday. The president of the European country, Volodímir Zelenski, explained that he spoke with his American counterpart, Joe Biden, for 50 minutes.
After the call, Zelenski assured that Washington and Kiev “stand shoulder to shoulder when it comes to the preservation of our democracies.” And as with the ministers, Donbass was at the center of the dialogues. “We discussed the situation in Donbass in detail. President Biden assured me that Ukraine will never be left alone in the face of Russian aggression, ”added the Ukrainian leader.
Indeed, the White House endorsed that position and, in an official statement, said that “President Biden affirmed the unwavering support of the United States for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine in the face of Russia’s ongoing aggression in Donbass and Crimea.” .
Biden’s public endorsement of Zelenski marks a turnaround in the new US foreign policy, after former President Donald Trump showed a close relationship with the Kremlin and resisted calls inside and outside his country that put pressure on Putin. for the alleged interference of his Government in the elections of the United States and in other countries such as Ukraine.
Instead, Biden not only shows a distancing from Russia but openly supports the Ukrainian government. The US president even launched an unprecedented accusation by pointing out, in mid-March, that he considers Putin a “murderer.”
Moscow’s fury was manifested with the withdrawal of its ambassador from the US capital and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov responded that relations between his country and Washington have “hit rock bottom.”
Russia responds: if NATO deploys troops, the country would take “additional measures”
For its part, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) gave a boost to the Zelensky government, given what it called “recent large-scale military activities by Russia in and around Ukraine.”
“NATO continues to support the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. We remain attentive and continue to closely monitor the situation ”, according to sources from the organization who this Friday reported on the main conclusions of the North Atlantic Council meeting held the day before. On Thursday, NATO discussed the possible increase in violence in Donbass.
Faced with all these pronouncements, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov responded with more accusations towards Ukraine. At a news conference on Friday, Peskov assured that the situation on the line of contact in eastern Ukraine between the Ukrainian government forces and the Russian-backed separatist forces was quite terrifying and that multiple “provocations” were taking place there.
In addition, Peskov warned that if NATO deploys its military troops in the area, it would generate more tensions in the border regions and this would force Russia to take “additional measures”.
“There is increased activity on the perimeter of Russia’s borders by NATO, other alliances, individual countries … everything forces us to be vigilant,” said Peskov.
This joins the statements that the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had already given, who assured that the United States was behind the tensions. “I am very hopeful that (the Ukrainian military) will not be ‘incited’ by politicians, who in turn will be ‘incited’ by the West, led by the United States,” Lavrov said.
On March 30, Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke with his German and French counterparts, Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron. The Kremlin explained that in that conversation, the Russian leader “emphasized that it is important that Kiev implement all the previous agreements” and resolve the legal aspects for a special status for Donbass.
In addition, Putin called for a direct dialogue with the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. And again he pointed to Ukraine as responsible for the escalation. “The Russian leader expressed his serious concern about the escalation of the armed confrontation on the line of contact caused by Ukraine and his refusal to implement the additional measures to strengthen the ceasefire coordinated by the Trilateral Contact Group in July 2020,” it says the notice.
On previous occasions, Russia claimed that they are only taking measures to ensure the security of their own borders and that they are really Russian volunteers who want to help the Donbass separatists. A version that the United States, United Kingdom, Germany and Ukraine reject outright.
For more than six years, in eastern Ukraine, Russian-backed separatists have been fighting Ukrainian forces. Kiev is reported to have killed at least 14,000 people since the annexation of Crimea. But Russia denies having a military presence there and rejects all the accusations.
With Reuters and AP