US needs to work with its European allies to be ready to come up with a new package of sanctions if Russia carries out its next aggression against Ukraine.
Once again, Russia is playing a mind game with the West and its long-standing neighbors. U.S. officials have begun to sound alarm about Russia’s significant buildup on the border with Ukraine – nearly 100,000 troops and a large amount of armored force and equipment.
Ukraine didn’t take this Russian deployment too seriously at first but has also recently begun to openly discuss the emerging threat.
While the West raised alarms and repeatedly issued warnings, the reaction in Kiev was relatively calm because it is nonetheless a country directly involved in the seven-year armed conflict in the South. Eastern country with Moscow-backed separatists.
Ukraine is used to near-constant intimidation from the Kremlin and rarely reacts even as the situation escalates. The Ukrainian army is also much better prepared and equipped than in 2014.
Russia’s latest troop build-up this time around is, in some ways, a repeat of events of last spring, when Russia moved a large amount of military equipment and troops to the regions, the area near Ukraine and then cool down.
By the summer, things were tense again, first with the onslaught on the propaganda front. Russian President Vladimir Putin published an editorial in Ukrainian, questioning Ukraine’s sovereignty and emphasizing that Russians and Ukrainians are “one people”.
The essay was seen as a veiled threat and alluded to the annexation of more Ukrainian territory, in addition to occupied territories in Crimea and parts of eastern Ukraine.
Putin’s editorial also frankly pointed to anti-Russian conspiracies and blamed the bad state of relations between Ukraine and Russia on foreign conspiracies.
The US government responded with tough words. Foreign Minister Antony Blinken reaffirmed Washington’s support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and warned Russia not to make another “grave mistake”.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg called on Russia to be “transparent” about its military activities amid what he called an “unusual and large concentration” of Russian armed forces near Ukraine.
The defense ministers of Britain and Ukraine jointly reaffirmed Ukraine’s sovereign status as the two countries move closer to a deal to build warships that could be worth up to $2.3 billion.
Even French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who are inclined to appease the Kremlin, have issued statements outright pro-Ukraine and urged Putin to “cool down”.
Media reports show that the situation is getting worse when the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) shows a lack of information about Putin’s internal apparatus. US officials are also deeply concerned by the presence of Russian special forces units such as Spetsnaz, GRU and SVR operating in the region, significantly increasing the Kremlin’s combined combat capabilities.
In this context, according to expert Olga Lautman of the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA), the US needs to work with its European allies to be ready to come up with a new sanctions package if Russia launches an attack. the next public into Ukraine.
To do that, however, the United States and Europe must present a solid united front and be ready to use all means against President Putin if Russia escalates in Ukraine and threatens further action.
The US and EU cannot waver, because the Kremlin will take it as a sign of weakness and will take more reckless and dangerous actions.