Ukraine and Russia accuse each other of preparing for an imminent war. While both countries keep diplomatic channels practically closed, Moscow neither affirms nor denies the US reports that warn of a deployment of Russian troops on the border with Ukraine: a total of 114,000 soldiers, tanks and artillery. “We see an intentional disinformation campaign,” the Kremlin says. “It is an attempt to portray Russia as the party that threatens the peace process [del conflicto armado entre ambos países en torno a la zona separatista del Donbás, que concluyó con un frágil acuerdo de paz a finales de 2014]”Added the spokesman for the Russian president, Vladimir Putin. Moscow accuses Kiev of having “aggressive plans” that it tries to camouflage. “And by aggressive I mean trying to solve the problem of the southeast [de Ucrania] with the use of force ”, added the spokesman.
Putin last week gave a clue to the current situation in the east of the former Soviet republic: “Our latest warnings have had some effect. However, tension has resurfaced there. It is important to stay in that state as long as possible, so that it does not occur to them to provoke any unnecessary conflict on our western borders, ”the Russian president said in a speech at the Valdai debate club. His spokesman reinforced this idea on Monday: “Kiev is strengthening itself and they are helping it to strengthen itself. They are supplying Kiev with a large quantity of weapons, including modern and high-tech arsenals. ” The Kremlin accuses NATO member countries of supplying Ukraine with weapons with which the country can carry out what Moscow considers “provocations.”
In the background of these statements another conflict resounds: the one that pitted Azerbaijan against Armenia last year, with the victory of the former, in Nagorno Karabakh. There, Turkish drones (of the Bayraktar TB2 model) were used that allowed a fast and effective Azeri offensive. The Ukrainian army seized them and used them for the first time against separatists in the Donbas region – where Donetsk and Lugansk once proclaimed themselves independent republics – at the end of October, which has set off alarms in Russia. The Russian Foreign Intelligence Service has emphasized the threat of the new Ukrainian army, very different from the one that was defeated in a new truce in 2015 by the intervention of several Russian armored brigades. “The US and its allies are trying to introduce weapons into Ukraine, and are encouraging it to use them, including unmanned combat aerial vehicles, for military provocations,” Russian espionage assured in an aggressive statement released on Monday.
“The provocative policy of the US and the European Union, which deliberately reinforces Kiev’s sense of impunity, is cause for extreme concern. We observed a situation similar to that in Georgia on the eve of the events of 2008. Then Mikhail Saakashvili broke the deck and tried to destroy civilians and Russian peacekeepers in South Ossetia. It cost him dearly ”, warned Russian intelligence. Moscow would have in the Donbas a hypothetical the spy is clear to repeat that campaign: more than half a million people who have been granted the Russian passport in its slow but uninterrupted attraction of that territory.
Putin also held a telephone conversation with Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi on Monday, in which he reiterated his concern “about the provocative steps taken by Kiev” in the Donbas region and “his use of prohibited weapons.” The Russian leader also reiterated his readiness “to maintain gas supply to Europe without interruptions in the long term.”
The Russian accusations have been denied by Kiev. Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Monday that Moscow “increases the intensity of its disinformation” in the conflict because “Ukraine is not planning any offensive military operation in the Donbas, this is official.” Kuleba, who in a recent interview with EL PAÍS pointed out the new threat that looms over his country from the Belarusian flank due to the proximity of Minsk and Moscow, this day urged Russia to participate “constructively” in Kiev’s diplomatic efforts , Berlin and Paris to revive the Normandy Quartet, where a solution is negotiated for eastern Ukraine.
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And in the midst of the “information war” that fuels suspicion against NATO, the Russian press this day echoed some timely statements by the former admiral who was responsible for the Northern Fleet when the Kursk. Vyacheslav Popov said, “without having evidence”, as he himself acknowledged, that the ship did not sink because of a torpedo failure, but because an Atlantic Alliance submarine collided with it and then slipped away. The Kremlin declined to assess these claims. “There was an investigation and it reached a final conclusion, we do not want to comment on other hypotheses,” Putin’s spokesman replied to reporters.
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