Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said this on Tuesday.
The U.S. Department of Defense published a statement which reads, “The United States is calling on Russia to respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine and not provoke or increase tensions”.
On April 2, John Kirby spoke to reporters at the Pentagon about Ukraine. In his words, the United States continues to closely monitor the situation in eastern Ukraine. He added that “the U.S. has provided Ukraine with non-lethal and lethal items that allow them to better defend themselves”.
The day before, State Department Spokesperson Ned Price informed that Washington had requested Moscow to give explanations regarding the movements of Russian troops along the border with Ukraine.
In response, Deputy Foreign Minister of Russia Sergei Ryabkov announced that the Kremlin has no intention to give Washington any additional explanations concerning the concentration of Russian troops near Ukraine’s border. In his words, Russia will negotiate with the United States only those questions that are of interest to Moscow.
Lieutenant-General Ben Hodges, the former U.S. Army Europe commanding general, said the other day that the interception of Russian aircraft by NATO, from the North Atlantic and the Baltic to the Black Sea, has grown significantly. Russian submarines show unusual activity in the Arctic and the Black Sea.
He clarified that all these things happen simultaneously and in a planned way.
"I think we should be prepared for the possibility that all this is happening to distract attention from possible other actions of the Russian Federation and its Armed Forces. … But we must honestly tell ourselves that the Kremlin's strategic goals remain to continue to destabilize Ukraine, to continue to put pressure on President Zelenskyy's administration, to make some unacceptable decisions", General Hodges said.
By building-up its troops along the border with Ukraine and escalating the military situation in Donbas, Russia wants to draw attention of the world community to itself as a force to be reckoned with. In such a way, the Kremlin is seeking to strengthen its positions at negotiations on the issue of the war conflict in Donbas. This is the opinion of Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine Oleksiy Reznikov. He added, “I admit that we can see how Russians are ‘strengthening their negotiating position’ and not even at the level of the Normandy Format but rather at the world level so that the world community pays more attention to them, reckons with them and starts talking with them”.
Fredrik Löjdquist, the director of the Stockholm Center for East-European Studies, shares the opinion of the Ukrainian official. Löjdquist believes that Russia’s sabre-rattling which is a threat to the security environment of the entire Europe is used by Moscow to intimidate as well as to take initiative and press the West for more concessions.
Considering the possible Russian aggression against Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy had phone talks with prime ministers of Great Britain and Canada. He called on Boris Johnson to increase sanctions against the Russian Federation because of the increasing contingent of troops at the Russian-Ukrainian border. Zelenskyy requested Great Britain along with NATO member-countries to increase their presence in that region.
After the phone conversation with Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Justin Trudeau thanked the Ukrainian President for the call and his striving to strengthen relations between Ukraine and Canada. “It’s always good to touch base and work on building the strong partnership between our two countries. Know that Canada’s support for Ukraine’s sovereignty, security, and territorial integrity will never waver”, assured the Canadian Prime Minister.
As the Office of the Ukrainian President informs, soon Volodymyr Zelenskyy will have phone talks with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The issue of Donbas will be the key topic of their discussions.
The newspaper Voice of Ukraine