Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country has “every right” to “react harshly to unfriendly steps” as the US and NATO continue to pressure Moscow over its aggression towards Ukraine.
The US and its allies have warned Russia about the consequences of further hostilities amid its continued military buildup near the Ukraine border — a move that US intelligence has assessed as preparation for a full-scale invasion in early 2022.
Speaking on Tuesday, NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that while the alliance is ready to engage in “meaningful dialogue” with Russia, it will continue to support Ukraine “politically and practically.”
Meanwhile, US Assistant Secretary of State for Europe Karen Donfried, the Biden administration’s top diplomat for Europe, said the US and Europe were ready to act immediately if Russia increased aggression towards Ukraine in the coming days.
Donfried would not get into the specifics of the options that are being discussed, but said there is no sanctions option that is off the table.
“I think that is a very clear signal that we are poised to move in a dramatic way if Russia does undertake further military aggression against Ukraine,” Donfried said, pointing to the statements from G7, NATO and the European Council in recent weeks.
Putin has demanded security guarantees from the US and NATO, including a binding pledge that NATO won’t expand further east and will not allow Ukraine to join the military alliance, according to a draft proposal published on Friday by Russia’s foreign ministry.
If you forsake the Lord and serve strange gods, then He will turn and do you harm and consume you, after having done you good. (Joshua 24:20 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition)