Russia’s top military experts have presented Russian President Vladimir Putin with possible plans of action in case tensions around Ukraine spiral into conflict, Moscow has disclosed as tensions flare between the two states.
Speaking as part of an interview on Thursday with media outlet RTVI, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said that “war specialists are constantly offering options to the president in the event that conditions deteriorate.”
The diplomat remarked that “this is a difficult subject,” and that it should be handled with care in the public space because it in itself is “a rocking of the situation.” He also said that it is vital to “give diplomacy a chance.”
Ryabkov also hinted that Russia could conduct naval exercises if the West continues to provoke Moscow, but said that there is no appetite to do so. When asked about whether the possibility of deploying the country’s military infrastructure to Venezuela or Cuba had been considered, the official replied that “I don’t want to confirm anything, I won’t rule anything out here either.”
“In American style, the optionality of foreign military policy is the cornerstone of ensuring this country’s powerful influence in the world. [It] depends on the actions of American counterparts,” the official explained.
According to Ryabkov, Putin “has spoken out many times… about what could be the activities, for example… of the Russian Navy, if things go completely in the direction of provoking Russia and further strengthening the military pressure on us by the US.” However, he reiterated that Moscow does not want to resort to such action, insisting that “diplomats have to come to an agreement.”
Ryabkov’s remarks come amid heightened tensions on the Ukrainian border in recent months. On Wednesday, representatives from NATO and Russian diplomats met in Brussels to discuss Moscow’s security proposals, in which Kiev was one of the centerpieces of the negotiations.
To facilitate a de-escalation in tensions, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko said that the US-led military bloc should also stop supplying Ukraine with weaponry and “recall its instructors, officers, and soldiers” from its territory.
Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov sounded the alarm in December, stating that “the probability of hostilities in Ukraine is still high” when asked by reporters about the likelihood of a war in the country’s east.
At the end of November, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned that in neighboring Ukraine, “more and more forces and equipment are being accumulated on the line of contact in the Donbas, supported by an increasing number of Western instructors.” The veteran diplomat also accused Western states of encouraging officials in Kiev to take anti-Russian actions, which he cautioned could easily spiral “into military adventures.”
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