The countries of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) issued a warning to Russia on Tuesday about a “high price” to pay for an eventual invasion of Ukraine, at the end of the first day of a meeting in Latvia to discuss how to respond to the high tension on the Russian-Ukrainian border.
“Any future aggression by Russia against Ukraine would have a high price and serious political and economic consequences”, warned the Secretary General of NATO, Jens stoltenberg, at the end of the first day of the meeting of the foreign ministers of the military alliance.
Stoltenberg said that NATO must always “be prepared for the worst, and we need to send a message to Russia that they must not conduct a military incursion into Ukraine.”
Shortly before the meeting, the American Secretary of State, Antony blinken, had also issued a warning to Moscow. “Any escalation by Russia would be very worrying for both the United States and Latvia, and any aggression could have serious consequences.”He said at a press conference in Riga.
However, Stoltenberg and Blinken they avoided offering details on possible NATO responses.
The exclusive item on the agenda for this two-day meeting is the huge Russian military concentration along that country’s border with Ukraine, a situation that made the warning lights go on throughout the region.
After recalling the Crimean precedent, Stoltenberg stressed that NATO then increased its presence on the eastern flank, deploying combat groups and air and naval patrols. “All this together sent a strong message of illegal annexation and now there are similar measures that are options that we will study now.”
Simultaneously, in Moscow the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, recalled that it is not the first time that the NATO countries they insist with the specter of a Russian incursion into Ukraine.
“They speak of a possible Russian military intervention in Ukraine since the beginning of the year. But as you can see, such a thing did not happen “, said the Russian president, who rejected the “threatsWesterners.
Ukraine on Monday petitioned its western allies “Act” quickly to deter Russia of an eventual invasion of its territory, an intention that the Kremlin completely denies.
This meeting of foreign ministers comes at a volatile time on NATO’s eastern flank, as the allies are also facing a migration crisis that they claim is driven by Belarus and backed by Russia.
Russia, which annexed the Crimean peninsula in 2014 and supports separatists fighting against the Ukrainian government, has flatly denied that it is planning an attack, and blames NATO for fueling tensions.
For this reason, Putin asked this Tuesday that the NATO countries not cross what he called the “red lines” of Moscow. In that sense, The Russian president warned the Alliance not to send troops or weapons to Ukraine, something the Kremlin would consider a red line to which it would respond vigorously.
“I hope the common sense and the responsibility for their own countries and the global community, “he added.
NATO officials, however, clarify that Ukraine is not covered by the collective defense pact. Ukraine is a country that aspires to join NATO, and is represented at the meeting by his foreign minister.
The growing fears around Ukraine come as three NATO members – Poland, Lithuania and Latvia – face a wave of migration which also occupies part of the agenda in the meeting.
Those three countries accuse another Russian ally, Belarus, of sending thousands of migrants, mainly from the Middle East, to their borders in a “hybrid attack”In retaliation for the EU sanctions against the Belarusian regime.
The dictator Alexander Lukashenko rejects the accusation of driving the wave of migrants. Even, this week he warned that his country would side in favor of Russia should Western powers unleash a war on Russia’s borders.
For his part, the President of Poland, Andrzej Doubt, raised increasing the number of NATO forces deployed on its eastern flanks in a meeting with Stoltenberg a week ago.
But a measure to trigger emergency consultations under article 4 of the founding treaty of the military alliance seems to have been put on hold for now.
On a joint tour of the Baltic states on Sunday, NATO Secretary General, Jens stoltenberg, and the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, pledged to intensify cooperation against such challenges.
Border tensions have eased slightly as some migrants have begun to return to their countries of origin, but Poland and Lithuania they insist that the crisis is far from over.
(With information from AFP)
NATO demanded from Russia a de-escalation of tensions on the border with Ukraine
Ukraine called for swift action to prevent a possible Russian invasion and NATO accused Putin of raising military tension