Amid recent news that Russia has initiated a “large and unusual” – and potentially warlike – buildup of troops along the border with Ukraine, a top State Department diplomat has revealed that “all options are on the table” with regard to a possible response, as Reuters reports.
According to Karen Donfried, assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, countries comprising the NATO alliance were set to consult this week on next steps in dealing with the military mobilization of roughly 100,000 troops, described earlier this month in reporting from Bloomberg.
Speaking to reporters during a telephone briefing, Donfried stated, “As you can appreciate, all options are on the table, and there’s a toolkit that includes a whole range of options,” according to Voice of America (VOA).
Donfried’s remarks were made ahead of a trip set this week for Secretary of State Antony Blinken to visit Sweden and Latvia in which he is slated to attend meetings with officials from NATO as well as from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and it seems certain that those talks will focus – at least in part – on Russia’s seemingly aggressive and potentially threatening conduct.
Whether Blinken was likely to meet with Sergey Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister while in Sweden remained unknown, though Donfried suggested that reporters simply “stay tuned.”
VOA also noted that President Joe Biden had himself expressed alarm over the troops amassing on Ukraine’s border with Russia and reiterated American respect for the territorial boundaries of that nation, indicating also that he would “in all probability” discuss the situation with Volodymyr Zelensky and Vladimir Putin, the leaders of the two countries at issue.
It was also reported that last week, Biden administration national security adviser Jake Sullivan spoke with Andriy Yermak of Ukraine and lamented the “harsh rhetoric” employed by Russia in this regard, concurring that diplomatic measures should indeed be undertaken in order to tamp down tensions.
While concerns have grown among western nations about the troop movements along the border and the possibility of an imminent Russian attack, Putin and his deputies have continued to deny such suggestions and dismiss them as irrational fearmongering, according to VOA.
With Russia’s ultimate motivation for this latest troop buildup still unclear and tensions continuing to run high with its neighbor, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov indicated earlier this month that preparations are in progress for a virtual meeting between Putin and Biden, but whether such a scenario will bear fruit in terms of securing Ukraine’s continued territorial integrity is something that remains to be seen.