The Kremlin strongly warns the West against keeping up its daily predictions of a “Russian invasion” of Ukraine, cautioning that they might lead to dire consequences.
Speaking on Sunday, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said such predictions were provocative.
Most recently, US President Joe Biden said he was "convinced" that his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin planned to carry out such an invasion within days, and NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg warned that everything indicated Russia was preparing a "full-fledged attack."
"The fact is that this directly leads to an increase in tension. And when tension is escalated to the maximum, as it is now, for example, on the line of contact (in eastern Ukraine), then any spark, any unplanned incident or any minor planned provocation can lead to irreparable consequences," Peskov said.
"So all this has - may have - detrimental consequences. The daily exercise of announcing a date for Russia to invade Ukraine is a very bad practice," the spokesman added.
Peskov also noted that Putin took no notice of such Western statements.
In order to make their statement sound reasonable, the Western officials and media outlets have been citing Russia’s deployment of big detachments of troops along its border with Ukraine. Russia says the deployment is defensive in nature and that it has the right to move its troops about inside its own territory.
The West has, however, refused to tone down the speculations even as some Russian troops have returned to their permanent deployment bases after drills.
Earlier on Sunday, Russia’s Ambassador to the US, Anatoly Antonov, likewise asserted that Moscow had no plans to invade Ukraine, adding that Russian troops were stationed on the country's sovereign territory and "are not threatening anyone."
Even, Ukraine's Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov called it “inappropriate” to talk about a “Russian invasion” in the coming days.
"Today, as of this hour, Russia has not formed yet a strike force in any city where it surrounded Ukraine," Reznikov told Ukraine's 1+1 broadcaster.
West’s mum on Russia’s security concerns
Also on Sunday, Putin told his French counterpart Emanuel Macron during a telephone conversation that the West was yet to respond to Russia’s “security guarantees demands” substantively, Russia’s ITAR-TASS news agency reported.
Moscow presented the proposals last December.
The proposed measures include guarantees that NATO will not advance eastward, including through the accession of Ukraine and other former Soviet countries into the alliance, as well as non-deployment of serious offensive weapons.
In late January, Washington and Brussels handed over written responses to Russia’s proposals showing that the West had made no concessions to Russia on matters of principle importance for it.
Putin "once again stressed the necessity for the United States and NATO to take Russia’s demands on ensuring security guarantees seriously and to respond to them in a concrete and substantive manner," the Kremlin said after the phone call.
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