Ukrainexe2x80x99s Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov, during his Pentagon visit, called for global unity to deter “Russian belligerence” and its xe2x80x9cnew tacticsxe2x80x9d of escalation against Ukraine. As both Kyiv and Washington agreed about the continuing military and security threat from Moscow, Reznikov, at a Pentagon conference, stressed that Ukraine had been xe2x80x9crepelling waves ofxc2xa0Russiaxe2x80x98s hybrid aggression for eight years.xe2x80x9dxc2xa0
Furthermore, he thanked the US for its strategic partnership with Kyiv.xc2xa0xe2x80x9cWe appreciate the full efforts of the United States to draw attention to the next phase of military preparations aroundxc2xa0Ukrainexc2xa0made by Moscow,xe2x80x9d he said.xc2xa0The USA resonated the concerns about Russiaxe2x80x99s military buildup on the border with Ukraine with US Defense Secretaryxc2xa0Lloyd Austin urging that Russia be asked for more transparency and pushed to live up to the Minsk agreement, according to transcripts released by Pentagon.xc2xa0
‘Escalation will certainly have catastrophic consequences for Europe’: Reznikov
Acknowledging his Ukrainian counterpartxe2x80x99s concerns, Austin assured that Pentagon officials have been closely monitoring the reports of the Russian troop movements nearxc2xa0Ukrainexe2x80x98s border. The US defence secretary also noted that he has been in contact with Generalxc2xa0Tod D. Wolters, the head of US European Command, to discuss how to best respond to the continuing threat and regional security situation caused by Moscow.
“We made clear our concerns about Russia’s destabilising activities and our desire for more transparency,” Austin said. Ukrainexe2x80x99s defence minister called out at the unusual Russian military activity on the countryxe2x80x99s border, appearing to hint that the troop buildup might be Moscowxe2x80x99s readiness for an attack. xe2x80x9cWe’re not sure exactly what Mrxc2xa0Putin is up to,xe2x80x9d Austin agreed.xc2xa0
“This possible escalation will certainly have catastrophic consequences for the whole of Europe,” Reznikov said, as per the Pentagon transcripts.
“Whether it will take place depends to a large extent on the unity and determination of the civilized world to stop the aggression,xe2x80x9d he added.xc2xa0
Russia accuses US of destabilisingxc2xa0region, calls behaviour ‘reckless and provocative’
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said this week that Moscow expects the United States to abandon plans to dominate the Black Sea, labelling its actions asxc2xa0xe2x80x98reckless and provocativexe2x80x99xc2xa0that has destabilised the region. The remarks came after the US Sixth Fleet (SIXTHFLT), a naval strikingxc2xa0group entered the Black Sea with the control ship USS Mount Whitneyxc2xa0to hold a joint military operation alongside NATO allies and partners. The move escalated regional tensions between Russia and Ukraine.
Moscow had restrictedxc2xa0foreign warshipsxe2x80x99 movement across several areas in the Black Sea near the Crimean coast, but as US warships entered the Black sea, it angered Russia in an anticipated worsening of bilateral ties between the two countries.xc2xa0
“This is, of course, an open attempt to test the Russian reaction, to increase tensions in the Black Sea region,” Zakharova said at a briefing in remarks cited by Moscowxe2x80x99s state news agency Sputnik. “All this fits into the concept of containment, the creation of some very aggressive situations, the destabilisation of the situation in general,xe2x80x9d Zakharova asserted.