Russians and Westerners have continued in recent weeks to accuse each other of fueling the crisis, at the risk of provoking a major conflict. Diplomatic efforts continue, however, even if the results are lacking.
The Russian exercises announced on Tuesday involve some 6,000 troops, fighter jets and bombers. They take place in southern Russia, particularly near Ukraine, and in Crimea, a Ukrainian peninsula annexed in 2014.
Moscow, which has deployed tens of thousands of troops in recent months near Ukraine, also announced last week naval maneuvers in the Atlantic, Arctic, Pacific and Mediterranean as well as joint exercises with Belarus, on the borders of the European Union (EU).
Midday on Tuesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said to himself
greatly concerned after the United States put 8,500 soldiers on alert on Monday, which could reinforce the rapid reaction force of the NATO of 40,000 soldiers. The decision to deploy them has not been taken.
For Mr. Peskov, Washington is causing a new
heightening of tensionsas the day before with the announcement of the departure of the families of American diplomats from Ukraine because of the imminent risk, according to the United States, of a Russian invasion.
Kiev, for its part, must receive a new delivery from the United States on Tuesday, including
equipment and ammunitionaccording to the American Embassy, specifying that it was part of the 200 million dollars of assistance granted by the White House.
Russian attacks foiled by Kiev
The Ukrainian authorities also claimed to have dismantled on Tuesday a group preparing, on the orders of Moscow, armed attacks to
destabilize regions of the country, particularly on the Russian border.
The gang’s organizers were planning a series of armed attacks on infrastructurethe Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) said in a statement, saying the group
was coordinated by
Russian special services.
The two organizers, including a Russian, were arrested, said the
an explosive device, small arms and ammunition.
They acted in Kharkiv, a large city located near the Russian border in the east of the country, and in Zhytomyr, in central Ukraine, less than 150 kilometers from Kiev, the capital.
The two men were former commandos who had taken part in the fighting, theAFP a source within law enforcement.
Under the guise of looking for security guards, they
started recruiting Staff,
essentially Russians who have committed violent crimes, according to this source.
Protecting Europe’s hydrocarbon deliveries
Russia, accused of having deployed more than 100,000 soldiers on the border with Ukraine for a possible attack, continues to deny any plans for an offensive and to link a de-escalation to treaties guaranteeing in particular the non-enlargement of the’NATO to the east, in particular to Ukraine.
These demands have been deemed unacceptable in both Europe and the United States, but the Allies appear to be struggling to coordinate the response.
In Europe as elsewhere, we claim to take Moscow’s security concerns seriously and want to negotiate solutions. After a round of talks, Washington is due to submit a written response to Russian demands this week.
But at the same time, the American president, Joe Biden, has increased the pressure by putting troops on alert. A hardening that seemed to take some European leaders by surprise, anxious not to provoke the Kremlin.
French President Emmanuel Macron, who is due to meet German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin on Tuesday, said he wanted to propose
a path of de-escalation to his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin
in the next few days. The Kremlin confirmed an interview within the week.
Paris will also host a meeting of high-ranking advisers with Germany, Russia and Ukraine on Wednesday, to try to revive a format of dialogue dating from 2015, today at a standstill.
The Europeans are anxious to protect their hydrocarbon supplies, which are more than 40% dependent on Russian wells. The United States, which has assured not to have
no discrepancy with the Europeans on the subject of the sanctions to be imposed in the event of an invasion of Ukraine, indicated on Tuesday that they had taken measures in this direction if ever Russia decided to cut off the tap.
Washington and the Europeans seek
identify additional volumes of natural gas […] from various parts of the world, North Africa, the Middle East, Asia and the United Statessaid a senior White House official.
We believe we are ready to find alternative supplies covering a significant majority of potential cuts in the delivery of Russian gas, and this until the spring, assured the senior official.
He also warned Moscow against any
instrumentalization of its hydrocarbon sales: Russia
needs gas and oil revenues at least as much as Europe needs its energy supplies.