The United States has warned its allies of a possible Russian incursion into Ukrainian territory, and US and British intelligence officials are increasingly confident that the Kremlin leader wants to take control of an even larger part of Ukraine. which in March 2014 the Russian Federation annexed the Crimea, writes The New York Times.
US intelligence officials have warned allies that they do not have much time to prevent Russia from taking military action in Ukraine. They call on European countries to work with the United States to adopt a package of economic and military measures to discourage Moscow, US and European officials told the NYT.
Russia has not yet decided what it intends to do with the troops it has deployed near Ukraine’s borders, US officials said, but this troop massage is being taken seriously by the United States, which does not think it is a bluff.
Americans exchange information with Europeans
Avril Haines, director of the US national intelligence services, went to Brussels this week to share with NATO ambassadors what information Americans have about the situation in Ukraine and a possible Russian military intervention in that country. The meeting was planned for a long time and referred to other issues, but growing concerns about Russia were among the short-term threats discussed, informed sources said.
Read also: NATO warning: We see an unusual concentration of Russian troops on the border with Ukraine. We call on Russia to avoid any escalation
The United States also exchanged information with Ukraine. On Friday, General Mark Milley, Chief of Staff, spoke with Lieutenant General Valeri Zalujni, the commander of the Ukrainian army, about “Russia’s worrying activity in the area.”
Also Friday, Avril Haines met in Warsaw with Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and other Polish officials to discuss security on NATO’s eastern flank. The meetings, the Polish government said, were held at the request of the United States.
What else does Vladimir Putin want from Ukraine
The US and British intelligence services are increasingly convinced that Vladimir Putin is considering military action to take control of a larger part of Ukraine or to destabilize the country long enough to install a pro-Moscow government.
Read also: Britain will help Ukraine modernize its navy in the context of tensions with Russia
US intelligence officials have told allies that Putin is frustrated by the peace process initiated by France and Germany in 2014, after Russia annexed the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea and orchestrated the separatist rebellion in eastern Ukraine.
Some former officials say Putin could now seek to secure one land bridge between eastern Ukraine and Crimea.
American analysts also believe that the Kremlin leader sees the coming months as the best time to act.
US and Allied officials also sounded the alarm in April, when Moscow strengthened its forces near the border with Ukraine. But the current build-up of forces, which appears to involve more troops and sophisticated weapons, has raised growing concerns, especially as Russia has disrupted Ukrainian surveillance drones. Hostility has also increased since Ukraine used one of its Turkish-made drones to attack a separatist stronghold, prompting Russia to send planes.
Read also: Mircea Geoana, number 2 in NATO, calls on Russia to return to “a sincere dialogue” with the Alliance: “In the end we did not annex Crimea”
The Kremlin is keeping Europe in check with its energy weapon
With the departure of German Chancellor Angela Merkel from the world stage, there is less pressure on Ukraine to make concessions. On the other hand, rising energy prices have made Europe more dependent on cheap Russian gas supplies, as winter approaches and Europe’s gas reserves fall further. Fear of losing access to Russian energy could make Europe reluctant to take tougher sanctions against the Kremlin, Americans believe.
Russia has already begun playing with Europe’s energy supply, a Western official in Brussels was quoted as saying by the NYT. When energy prices rise, the official said, Vladimir Putin feels he has more freedom of action. And with higher prices and limited deliveries, Russia has more money to fund its military operations, according to former and current officials.
What Americans want from European allies
The Americans want to create a “common recipe” for action that the United States and Europe could take if Russia were to act against Ukraine militarily. Even if there are parts of the Russian economy that have not been sanctioned, the United States will have to get support in Europe for the new measures to be effective.
There is growing concern about Russia’s intentions after CIA Director William Burns was recently in Moscow at the request of President Biden to issue a warning of any potential action against Ukraine. US officials have told Moscow that using force to intimidate Ukraine or occupy even more territory is unacceptable and will provoke a strong reaction from the West.
According to the NYT, there are competent people who believe that Russia does not take the threat of the West seriously with a harsh response.
Belarus fun and the necessary precautions
NATO countries, says a Western official, must be aware on the other hand that the crisis in Belarus and the movement of troops to the border with Ukraine are taking place at the same time.
“Putin is very agile,” said Jim Townsend, a senior Pentagon official. “She likes to provoke diversion. That’s how he plays his game. All eyes are on the border with Belarus. In the meantime, he is preparing everything that would be needed to enter Ukraine, “Townsend warned.
On the other hand, any response to Russia’s developments should be carefully calibrated to avoid escalating the situation and further endangering Ukraine, US and European officials believe. “We have to be prepared to be tough,” Townsend said. “We don’t have to go and bomb anything. But we have to be smart in the way we show our military capability“, Said the former Pentagon official.
„If we, the West, do not show that we are in solidarity and ready to act together, then the risk of the Kremlin making a terrible miscalculation increases. “, warned General Ben Hodges, the former commander of American troops in Europe.
Editor: Luana Pavaluca