NATO countries united in the face of Russian “intimidation” in Ukraine

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba at the NATO summit in Riga on December 1, 2021.

For some, Russia is currently engaged in“Strategic intimidation, something that is above peace and below war”, as summed up by a European diplomat. For others, including its Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, NATO must now prepare ” at worst ” in Ukraine : “You can discuss the likelihood of an invasion [russe] and estimate that it is 20% or 80%, but it does not matter ”, he said Tuesday, November 30, in Riga, at the end of the first day of a meeting of the foreign ministers of the Atlantic Alliance.

The United States, for its part, provided its allies with detailed information on the scale of the Russian deployment on the Russian-Ukrainian border and estimated, through the voice of Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, that “Any Russian action leading to escalation would be of great concern to Washington”.

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The wording did not reassure some member countries, for whom the fact that this meeting is symbolically being held in Latvia, a country bordering Russia, augured for the announcement of immediate measures in the face of the presence of “Tens of thousands of soldiers ready for combat”, as Mr Stoltenberg says. In Kiev, too, NATO is being urged to“Act quickly” to deter Russia. According to Dmytro Kuleba, the head of Ukrainian diplomacy, it is 115,000 men, equipped with heavy equipment that Moscow would have massed around the Ukraine and in Crimea. On Wednesday morning, the minister said he hoped his country would benefit from a “Deterrent package”. “By acting in a coordinated manner, we will be able to dissuade President Putin and encourage him not to choose the worst-case scenario that a military operation would represent”, he explained.

“Substantial military support”

Ukrainian soldier in Marinka, Donetsk region, April 20, 2021.

What would be the “Heavy price” paid by Russia if it launched an offensive? The United States and NATO did not detail on Tuesday what this formula covered. Before the meeting, the secretary general mentioned “Several options” and “Heavy financial and economic but also political sanctions”. The consultations were to continue on Wednesday, in the presence of the Ukrainian and Georgian delegations, and probably lead to the announcement of a strengthening of the Alliance presence on its eastern flank. According to Blinken, it will be, “As an alliance, to take other measures to strengthen our defenses, our resistance and our capacities”.

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NATO intends, however, to calm Kiev’s expectations by recalling that Ukraine is not a member of the organization and therefore cannot benefit from all the guarantees of collective security. Ukraine, however, is expected to receive a “Substantial military support”.

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