Attack on Ukraine would be expensive, NATO warns Moscow



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  • Western alarm grows over reinforcement of Russian troops
  • NATO Alliance ministers meet in Latvia
  • Moscow denies any aggressive intention

RIGA, Nov.30 (Reuters) – Russia would pay a high price for any further military aggression against Ukraine, NATO and the United States warned on Tuesday as the Western military alliance met to discuss Moscow’s intentions to regroup troops on the border of the former Soviet Union. Republic.

The West has already shown that it can exercise economic, financial and political sanctions against Moscow, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters ahead of alliance foreign ministers’ talks in the Latvian capital Riga.

“There will be a high price to pay for Russia if it again uses force against the independence of the nation, Ukraine,” Stoltenberg said.

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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is expected to brief his 29 NATO counterparts with intelligence from Washington on what is happening on the alliance’s eastern flank and in Ukraine, which is not a member.

“Any escalation on the part of Russia would be of great concern to the United States (…) and any further aggression would have serious consequences,” he said at a press conference ahead of the meeting.

“We will be consulting closely with NATO allies and partners in the coming days (…) to see if there are any other steps we should take as an alliance to strengthen our defenses, strengthen our resilience, strengthen our capacity. “

Kiev’s aspirations for integration with the West have sparked a standoff with Moscow.

“MALIGNANT ACTIVITY”

The Kremlin annexed the Crimean Black Sea Peninsula to Ukraine in 2014, then supported rebels fighting government troops in the east of the country. This conflict has left 14,000 dead, according to Kiev, and is still brewing.

Two rallies of Russian troops this year on Ukraine’s borders have alarmed the West. In May, Russian troops numbered 100,000 there, the largest since its takeover of Crimea, according to Western officials.

Moscow has dismissed Ukraine’s suggestions as arson that it is preparing for an attack, said it is not threatening anyone and has defended its right to deploy troops in its own territory as it wishes.

Britain and Germany have echoed NATO’s warnings.

“We will stand alongside our fellow democracies against Russia’s malicious activities,” said British Foreign Minister Liz Truss.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said: “NATO’s support for Ukraine is unbroken … Russia should pay a high price for any kind of aggression.”

Adding to Western concerns, Belarus on Monday announced joint military exercises with Russia on its border with Ukraine. While also being a former Soviet republic, Minsk is an ally of Moscow.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, whom the West accuses of seeking to divide the European Union by sending migrants from the Middle East to the border of NATO member countries Poland, Latvia and Lithuania, warned Minsk not to remain on the sidelines in the event of war.

“It is clear which side Belarus will be on,” he said, referring to Moscow, whose financial and political support helped him overcome mass public protests in August 2020.

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Additional reporting by John Chalmers in Brussels; Writing by Gabriela Baczynska and Robin Emmott; Editing by Nick Macfie and Andrew Cawthorne

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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