The West waits for Putin’s next move as Russia-Ukraine tensions rise

LONDON — A big rise in tensions between Russia and Ukraine in current weeks is prompting fears of a revival of the navy battle.

Since Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, there have been ongoing skirmishes between Ukraine’s troops and pro-Russian separatists in Donbass, a area in jap Ukraine. The combating, which has been punctuated by intervals of cease-fire (which either side have accused the opposite of violating), is believed to have killed round 14,000 individuals.

Last week, Ukraine stated 4 of its troopers had been killed by shelling by Russian forces in Donbass.

Earlier in March, the commander-in-chief of the armed forces of Ukraine, Ruslan Khomchak, stated that Russia’s “armed aggression” within the Donbass was a “major threat” not solely to Ukraine’s nationwide safety however to all NATO allies. Earlier this week, he stated there was a buildup of Russian troops close to the border.

Russia’s actions haven’t gone unnoticed within the U.S. On Wednesday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken reiterated Washington’s assist for Ukraine’s territorial integrity “in the face of Russia’s ongoing aggression,” the State Department stated in a press release.

Speaking to Ukraine’s international minister, Blinken “expressed concern about the security situation in eastern Ukraine and offered condolences on the recent loss of four Ukrainian soldiers,” the assertion added.

The Kremlin stated Wednesday it was involved by rising tensions in jap Ukraine and that it feared Kyiv’s forces might do one thing to restart a battle.

“We express concern over the growing tension and express concern that one way or another the Ukrainian side could take provocative actions that would lead to war. We really don’t want to see that,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov stated, in keeping with Reuters.

“I mean a civil war, which there already was there,” Peskov stated, when requested to make clear on a convention name with reporters.

Speaking on Tuesday to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron, who’ve tried to dealer a peace deal between Russia and Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed “serious concern about the escalation of armed confrontation on the contact line being provoked by Ukraine” and, as Russia sees it, Ukraine’s “refusal” to honor agreements that had been a part of the newest cease-fire coordinated in July.

Timothy Ash, senior rising markets strategist at BlueBay Asset Management, famous on Wednesday that “it feels like Putin is trying to test and probe the West’s defences and resolve to confront him — maybe this is a prelude to a new military offensive in Ukraine.”

“It feels like Putin is readying for some big step — maybe a diversion for his own problems at home with Navalny and focus on … State Duma elections. A victory in Ukraine would throw some red meat again to the nationalist crowd in Russia and expose the weakness again of the West,” he added, referring to jailed Russian dissident Alexei Navalny.

Ash suggested Russia watchers to regulate water shortages which were skilled in Crimea. the roots of which had been laid seven years in the past when Ukraine shut off the North Crimean Canal, chopping off nearly all of the area’s recent water provide.

“If anywhere I would watch south and to the water problems being experienced in Crimea. The risk is that Russia is trying diversionary tactics in Donbass when the bigger prize would be a military thrust into Ukraine to capture water courses which supply Crimea with water,” Ash stated.

“Maybe Putin thinks the West is weak and divided and unable to respond,” Ash continued, citing insufficient sanctions by the Joe Biden administration on, for instance, the Nordstream fuel pipeline, over the SolarWinds hack that breached U.S. government networks, and 2016 election meddling “as a signal that the U.S. is just petrified to act for fear of what Russia might do.”

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