Putin presents a profound threat to peace in Europe as ‘drumbeat of war’ sounds on Russia-Ukraine border

Today, Russian President Vladimir Putin is testing that peace hard as he masses troops on the Ukrainian border, and diplomats are raising the alarm in stark terms. The US ambassador to 57 countries, the Organization for Cooperation and Security in Europe, Michael Carpenter, warned on Thursday that European security was facing a “crisis” and that “the drums of war are beating loudly”.
Putin, whose country has buried tens of millions of people in European wars, is revealing new grievances about post-war peace, specifically the role of NATO, the transatlantic defense alliance, and counterpoint to Russia’s predecessor, the Soviet Union.
Last summer in a 20-page document citing centuries of blood-stained history, Putin called for Ukraine, which regained independence in 1991 after the collapse of the Soviet Union, noting that “Russians, Ukrainians and Belarusians are all descendants of Old Rus, which was the largest country in Europe” .

He concluded that “our spiritual, human and cultural bonds that have developed over the centuries have their origins in the same sources … the true sovereignty of Ukraine is possible only in partnership with Russia.”

As commander of the world’s fifth largest army, and barely halfway through a predictable nearly four-decade rule, Putin is setting the stage for his claim to just as much as his predecessors did, placing troops on the Ukrainian border waiting for his command.

Having already invaded Crimea in 2014, fears of Russian troops returning across the border have never been higher.

The past week of talks – bilateral with the US in Geneva on Monday, with NATO in Brussels on Wednesday and culminating at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in Vienna on Thursday – which were aimed at easing tensions, appear to have achieved the opposite and cemented Putin’s envoys in hostility. Rhetoric.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov set the tone on Monday, calling for “strict, water-resistant, bulletproof, legally binding guarantees, not assurances, not guarantees” that NATO is denying Ukraine and other membership and rolling back to the 1997 lines.

Two days later, after NATO talks in Brussels, another deputy foreign minister, Alexander Grushko, threatened with force if they did not get what they wanted. “We have a set of legal – military – technical measures that we will implement if we feel a real threat,” he added [our] Security, we already feel [it],” He said.

By Thursday, as talks reached the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, whose territory circles the northern hemisphere from the frozen tundra of Russia’s far east to the icy western tip of Alaska, and where both Russia and Ukraine are members, a permafrost diplomatic layer had formed. Russia’s ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Alexander Lukashevich, has warned of a “moment of truth” with “serious consequences” if Russia’s “principles” are violated.

In Moscow on Friday, Russia’s long-serving foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, warned that “the West has drifted away” and that taking advantage of Russian people’s law hinted that Putin’s diplomacy may have run its course, saying : “We’ve been squeezing slowly, but now it’s time for us to ‘ride.'”

On the same day, Ukrainians woke up to a massive cyber attack that brought down government websites. Russia has not claimed responsibility, but chief European diplomat Josep Borrell has left no doubt who is believed to be behind the attack, saying: “It is hard to say [who is behind it]. I can’t blame anyone because I don’t have proof, but we can imagine it.”

By Russian determination or the faltering effects of stalled diplomacy, the talks are sowing mounting consequences. Borrell promised countermeasures to the cyber-attack, “We will mobilize all our resources to help Ukraine confront this cyber-attack. Unfortunately, we knew it could happen.”

In the United States, President Joe Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, indicated on Thursday that Putin may have abandoned talks with no talks scheduled in the coming days, and on Friday the United States raised the stakes further, accusing Moscow of “focusing A group of activists previously said Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said they “carried out” an operation designed to look like an attack on them or on Russian-speaking people in Ukraine “to create a cause” for a possible invasion.

The Kremlin strongly denied the accusation.

what happened after that?

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Friday, called on Biden and Putin for tripartite talks to discuss the security situation, according to Ukrainian state media Ukrinform.

Lavrov stated that he believes NATO needs to take the next step, “We are waiting for answers from our colleagues, answers in writing, on paper.”

But Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General, told CNN on Wednesday that it was up to Russia to respond to NATO’s diplomatic outreach on arms limit talks and other mutual military agreements. “We are awaiting a response to our proposal for a meeting addressing a wide range of important issues for European security,” he said.

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken also indicated that the United States is waiting for the Russian president. “Will he choose the path of diplomacy and dialogue to solve some of these problems? Or will he continue confrontation and aggression?” asked the secretary on Thursday.

Waiting reawakens uncomfortable memories for Europeans. Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod called Putin’s actions “totally unacceptable”, saying he was “trying to take us back to the coldest and darkest days of the Cold War”.

But with Putin seemingly insisting he won’t back down, the shadow of history is pressing on the shoulders of leaders across the continent who are increasingly aware that fateful decisions may lie ahead.

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