Russia on Thursday accused the West of plotting to “incite” Ukraine, while it accused Moscow of planning aggressive military action in the neighboring country.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova alleged that Ukrainian and Western claims of an imminent Russian attack on Ukraine were “a cover for staging their own large-scale provocations, including military ones.”
“They can have very sad consequences for regional and global security,” Zakharova said. He claimed that Ukraine regards Western military aid as “carte blanche for a military operation in the Donbass”, pointing to the delivery of weapons to Ukraine by British military transport planes in recent days.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said US threats of a possible Russian cutoff from the global banking system could encourage rebel forces in Ukraine to use force to reclaim control of the rebel East. “This may set false hopes in the minds of some representatives of the Ukrainian leadership, who may quietly decide to resume civil war in their country,” Peskov said in a conference call with reporters.
Top diplomats held talks
Top US and European diplomats met in Berlin on Thursday to present a united front to Russia. Russia has amassed an estimated 100,000 troops near Ukraine, and US President Joe Biden said on Wednesday he thought Moscow would invade. He warned Russian President Vladimir Putin that if this happens his country will pay a “dear price” in lost lives and a possible cutoff from the global banking system.
Against that backdrop, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken held talks with diplomats from Germany, France and Britain on Thursday – a so-called Quad meeting. The day before, he met with the President of Ukraine in Kiev and discussed the threat.
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