While Belarus escalates border conflict in Poland and Lithuania by sending thousands of migrants, Russia continues with a military operation at the border with Ukraine, which is widely criticized by NATO and the United States as an attempt to destabilize the region. According to the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, about 114,000 Russian soldiers are stationed in the northeast, east and south of the Ukrainian border.
Intelligence reports are being processed in Washington, pointing to a possible military invasion of eastern Ukraine, where a large part of the population speaks Russian and has strong ties to Russia.
NATO’s chief, Jens Stoltenberg, called for caution about Moscow’s “sufficient military concentration” in the area, saying the mobilization of Russian troops near the border with Ukraine is the largest since 2014, when Moscow annexed the Crimean peninsula.
The Kremlin “justified” the deployment of its military along the border with Ukraine, saying that all movements of Russian troops are taking place within their borders and that, as they stated, they are not disturbing the peace. However, in the United States and at the NATO’s headquarters there’s fear that Russia will try to invade the territory again.
“We know that Russia has already shown the will and ability to use military force against Ukraine. We saw that when they illegally annexed Crimea and we have seen this for many years in the way they support the separatists in the Donbas,” said the Atlantic Alliance leader, Jens Stoltenberg.
In a statement issued on Monday, the French and German foreign ministers called on Russia for restraint and transparency in its military activities, warning that “any new attempt to undermine Ukraine’s territorial integrity would be serious and with consequences ”.
US Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin, called Russia an “obstacle” for peace in Ukraine and accused Moscow of destabilizing the region.
“We call on Russia to end its occupation of Crimea and to stop the prolongation of the war in eastern Ukraine, as well as to stop its destabilizing activities in the Black Sea along the Ukrainian border,” said Austin in a meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart, Andriy Taran, in Kiev.