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Vladimir Putin now has the operational capability to attack Ukraine, as he strengthens his military forces near the border with the neighboring country, said US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, noting, however, that Washington does not believe that Russia has make the final decision to use these forces.
Speaking to reporters, the Pentagon chief said that “there are multiple options available (for Putin), including the occupation of cities and important territories, but also coercive and provocative political acts, such as the recognition of secessionist territories.”
Austin stressed that the United States remains focused on tackling Russian misinformation, which could be used as a harbinger of a military operation against Ukraine.
He added that the United States has pledged to support Ukraine in defending its territory by sending additional anti-tank weapons to Kiev.
Austin also said that US troops on alert earlier in the week had not left for Ukraine, and that President Joe Biden had made it clear that he did not want to send troops to Ukraine to take part in military operations. At the same time, the Pentagon will continue to support diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis.
“There is still time and room for diplomacy,” he said.
Austin also said he spoke by telephone this week with his Polish, German and Romanian counterparts about developments in Ukraine.
More than 100,000 Russian troops have been deployed along the border with Ukraine since late 2021, a sign, according to Washington, that an invasion could be imminent. But the Pentagon chief stressed that “there is no reason” for this situation to necessarily turn into an armed conflict.
In the same press conference, the Chief of the General Staff of the US Army, General Mark Miley, stressed that the Russian formations near Ukraine extend beyond the land, air and naval forces and include capabilities for cyber warfare and logistics.
Putin to Macron: US and NATO ignore our fundamental concerns
Earlier, the Russian president had a telephone conversation with his French counterpart Emanuel Macron, in which he said that Moscow would carefully study the written answers it received from the West on January 26 from NATO and the US, in its own proposals for guarantees. security and after that will determine its further actions.
According to the Kremlin, See Putin noted during the conversation that the US and NATO in their responses to Moscow’s proposals for security guarantees did not take into account Russia’s fundamental concerns.
The two presidents agreed to continue the dialogue on the full range of European security issues. The statement said that “in connection with France taking over the presidency of the EU Council in the first half of this year, Macron briefed Putin on Paris’s approaches to the pan-European field.”
Putin stressed the importance of Kiev’s strict adherence to the Minsk agreements, the Kremlin said in a statement, noting that Russia and France had close positions on the issue of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (CSTO). with Iran’s nuclear program
Source From: Capital