At the end of a week of fruitless discussions between the United States and Russia, tension is far from having subsided in Ukraine on Friday January 14.
The United States has accused Moscow of stationing agents in Ukraine to carry out an operation that could serve as the trigger for a real invasion on its part. White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki detailed to the press the information Washington says it has:
“Russia is laying the groundwork for the possibility of fabricating a pretext for an invasion, including through acts of sabotage and information operations, by accusing Ukraine of planning an imminent attack against Russian forces. in eastern Ukraine. «
Ukraine’s military intelligence services issued a similar warning on Friday.
“No proof” according to Moscow
The US government has been warning for several weeks against the possibility that Moscow, which it accuses of having deployed nearly 100,000 troops to the Ukrainian border for a potential offensive, is manufacturing a » pretext « to be able to take action. The adviser to the President of the United States, Joe Biden, for national security, Jake Sullivan, said it again Thursday to the press, promising details. « We saw this strategy at work in 2014 », when Russia annexed Ukrainian Crimea, « They are preparing this strategy again », warned Mr. Sullivan. « Until now, all these statements have been gratuitous and were not supported by any evidence »Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the official TASS news agency.
For its part, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) announced its intention to sign an agreement with Ukraine on strengthening their cooperation against cyberattacks, at a time when several Ukrainian ministries were the target of extensive hacking.
Russia said on Thursday that its efforts to persuade the West to prevent NATO’s eastward expansion, including through Ukraine’s integration, had led to a impasse and threatened to draw the consequences, without specifying its nature.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, for his part, is trying to regain control of the negotiations. He proposed a meeting to defuse the crisis on the border between his country and Russia, one of his close advisers said on Friday. « President Zelensky has proposed to President Biden, and we believe it can be done, to organize a trilateral meeting, perhaps by videoconference, between President Biden, President Zelensky and President Putin », said the head of the Ukrainian presidential office, Andrii Iermak, at an event organized by the American think tank Atlantic Council. « We are still awaiting the response from the Russian side, but our American partners have welcomed our proposal with some interest », he explained.
“I think it’s a proactive position, which involves Ukraine in the negotiation. If it is a question of discussing the security architecture in Europe, it is necessary to involve Ukraine ”, he still estimated. The Ukrainian head of state had already called on Tuesday for a quadripartite summit with Moscow, Paris and Berlin to « End the conflict » with pro-Russian separatists in the east of his country.
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock will go to Kiev on Monday, where she will meet in particular with Volodymyr Zelensky, then the next day in Moscow, for a meeting with her Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov.
« We will make a joint visit to Ukraine in the coming days (…) on the dividing line « between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian forces, announced for his part Jean-Yves Le Drian, head of French diplomacy, during a meeting of European Union foreign ministers in Brest. This joint visit is scheduled » at the beginning of February « , said a French diplomatic source.