Secretary of State Antony Blinken has told reporters that Russian President Vladimir Putin might launch a new invasion of Ukraine, according to a report in The Washington Examiner. A pair of Russian long-range bombers flew over Belarus on Wednesday and “checked the Union State’s air defenses,” according to Russian state media.
“We don’t have clarity into Moscow’s intentions, but we do know its playbook,” Blinken said Wednesday. “And our concern is that Russia may make the serious mistake of attempting to rehash what it undertook back in 2014, when it amassed forces along the border, crossed into sovereign Ukrainian territory, and did so claiming, falsely, that it was provoked.”
This news comes as Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba attempted to host a strategic dialog, but his efforts came to an abrupt halt when issues regarding former President Donald Trump’s first impeachment were brought to the conversation.
According to the Examiner, President Joe Biden’s team was looking for an avenue to strengthen the United States’ relationship with Europe, but not at the risk of their relationship with China.
Kuleba, however, cautioned that Russia is playing “a very complicated game” that could end with a new crisis on NATO’s eastern front.
“It was also us who shared some new elements with our American partners, in particular with relation to the situation taking place in Belarus,” he said, referencing the former Soviet state’s hopes to avoid Russia’s attempts to re-unionize the nation under Moscow’s rule.
“This is the potential front line that should not be underestimated.”
The Examiner reported that the tensions at the border are mounting, getting dangerously close to a crisis, after just a few short days of major joint military exercise between Belarus and Russia.
Drills were followed by an announcement from Moscow that they plan to join forces to “contribute to strengthening the Union State’s military security.”
“In this connection, we are expressing concern over the continuing groundless NATO buildup on the borders of the Union State,” Belarusian Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei said Wednesday. “Regrettably, our Western partners prefer to turn a deaf ear to us.”