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Russia suspects Ukraine of preparing offensive in Donbas

Kremlin spokesman says gathering of Ukrainian troops, military equipment on engagement line in Donbas indicates preparing offensive

Elena Teslova   | 24.01.2022
Russia suspects Ukraine of preparing offensive in Donbas

MOSCOW

Ukraine's military build-up on the engagement line in the Donbas region indicates a preparing offensive, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday.

Arms deliveries from NATO countries to Ukraine raise the risk that the Ukrainian armed forces try to implement a force scenario in the region, Peskov told reporters at a daily briefing in Moscow.

"The Ukrainian authorities are concentrating a huge amount of forces and means on the engagement line. Indeed, the nature of this concentration indicates preparation for offensive actions. Indeed, there is such a threat now. And, indeed, every single piece of weapon, be it defensive or offensive, just inspires hotheads in Kyiv to start this operation. We can't help but worry about it," he said.

Peskov stressed that the threat of "provocations" by Ukraine's military now is higher than before and that Moscow would like the NATO countries in each new statement to urge the Ukrainian authorities not to even think about the possibility of a military settlement in Donbas.

Peskov stressed that tensions in Donbas are increasing because of NATO's actions.

"In general, we state and would like to draw your attention to the fact that the escalation of tension is carried out through information actions and concrete actions taken by the United States of America and NATO.

"Speaking about information actions, I mean the information hysteria that we are witnessing. It is generously framed by a huge amount of false information, just lies -- I mean those very fakes," he said.

Peskov recalled that the US media first published reports about the evacuation of the Russian diplomatic services in Ukraine, and ended up evacuating its own diplomatic personnel.

Asked if there is any news regarding Turkiye's efforts to reconcile Russia and Ukraine, the spokesman said "there is no concrete information."

The spokesman called "a brilliant example of fake hysteria" reports that Russia may cut gas supplies to Europe in case of new sanctions, noting that "even in the most difficult moments of relations with the West, Russia was a reliable guarantor of Europe's energy security."

Being in "aggressive encirclement" was one of the reasons why Russia demanded security guarantees, Peskov said, recalling that the response from the US is expected to come this week.

If necessary, a contact between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Joe Biden can be organized but at the moment it is not on the presidential schedule, he added.

Last December, Russia demanded from Washington security guarantees that suggest Ukraine’s non-admission to NATO and a zone free of the alliance’s military presence.

On Jan. 21, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov meets with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to summarize the positions after a series of talks between Russia from one side, the US, NATO, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe from the other.

The US administration has warned its European allies recently over Russia’s possible military attack, claiming that Moscow is planning to carry out a false-flag operation to justify an invasion of Ukraine.

For its part, Russia points out that the Ukrainian military, backed by the NATO fleet in the Black Sea, conducts military operations close to its borders and uses weapons that can easily reach Russian territory.

In addition, Moscow claims the US private military companies are providing military assistance to the Ukrainian army, which is the reason for the country's "extreme concern."

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