Putin presents a profound threat to peace in Europe:

Today, the peace is being put to a serious test by Russian President Vladimir Putin as troops throng Ukraine’s border and diplomats raise the alarm in harsher words. Michael Carpenter, the US ambassador to 57 countries, the Worldwide Organization for Cooperation and Security in Europe, warned on Thursday that European security is facing a “crisis” and that “the drums of war are sounding louder.”
Putin, whose nation buried millions of its own in European wars, is finding new complaints about post-World War I peace, particularly the role of NATO, the Transatlantic Defensive Alliance and Russia’s predecessor, Counterintelligence of the Soviet Union.
Citing centuries of blood-spattered history in a 20-page document last summer, Putin claimed Ukraine, which gained its independence after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, “Russians, Ukrainians and Belarusians are all ancient The descendants of Russia, which was the largest state in Europe.”

He concluded “Our spiritual, human and civilizational ties built over centuries have their origins in the same sources … True sovereignty of Ukraine is possible only in partnership with Russia.”

As commander of the world’s fifth-largest military, and almost halfway through an expected four-decade rule, Putin is setting the stage to stake his claim, as did his ancestors, of Ukraine. Waiting for his command at the border.

Having already invaded Crimea in 2014, the fear of Russian troops crossing the border again has never been higher.

Last week’s talks – bilaterally with the US in Geneva on Monday, with NATO in Brussels on Wednesday and Thursday at the OSCE in Vienna – which were meant to defuse tensions, seem to have taken place with Putin in hostilities. The messengers are opposite and entangled. rhetoric

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov set the tone on Monday by demanding an “ironclad, waterproof, bulletproof, legally binding guarantee, not assurance, not a safeguard, a guarantee” that NATO denies Ukraine and other membership and 1997 Rolls back on lines.

Two days later, after the NATO talks in Brussels, another deputy foreign minister, Alexander Grushko, threatened if they did not get what they wanted. “We have a set of legal military-technical measures that we will implement if we feel a real threat [our] security, and we already feel [it],” They said.

By Thursday when talks were held on the OSCE, whose region spans the Northern Hemisphere from Russia’s easternmost frozen tundra to the icy western tip of Alaska and where both Russia and Ukraine are members, a diplomatic permafrost had formed. Russia’s OSCE ambassador, Alexander Lukashevich, warned that there would be a “moment of truth” with “disastrous consequences” if Russia’s “principles are violated”.

On Friday in Moscow, Putin’s long-serving foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, warned that “the West was swept away,” and tapping into Russian public law, indicated that Putin’s diplomacy would have run its course, saying: “We’re slowly getting used to, but now it’s time for us to ride.”

First on CNN: US intelligence indicates Russia is preparing an operation to justify the invasion of Ukraine

On the same day, Ukrainians woke up to a major cyber attack and destroyed government websites. Russia has not claimed responsibility, but Europe’s top diplomat Josep Borrell left little doubt as to who thought he was behind the attack, saying, “It’s hard to say. [who is behind it], I can’t blame anyone because I don’t have any proof, but we can imagine.”

From the effects of stagnant Russian design or stalled diplomacy, the outcome of the negotiations is accelerating. Borrell promised countermeasures to the cyber attack, “We are going to mobilize all our resources to help Ukraine deal with this cyber attack. Sadly, we knew it could happen.”

In the US, President Joe Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan suggested on Thursday that Putin may have left talks without a schedule in the coming days, and on Friday the US raised the stakes further, alleging that that Moscow had “premeditated a group of operatives” to cause “a possible invasion” according to Pentagon spokesman John Kirby “designed to look like an attack on them or on Russian-speaking people in Ukraine”. To execute an operation”.

The Kremlin vehemently denied the allegation.

What will happen next?

On Friday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky invited Biden and Putin to hold three-way talks to discuss the security situation, according to Ukrainian state media outlet Ukraineform.

Lavrov has said he believes NATO needs to take the next step, adding that “we are waiting for answers from our allies, written answers, put on paper.”

But NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told CNN on Wednesday that it is up to Russia to respond to NATO’s diplomatic outreach on arms control talks and other reciprocal military agreements. “We look forward to a response to our proposal to convene a meeting addressing a wide range of issues important to European security,” he said.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also indicated that the US was waiting for the Russian president. “Is he going to choose the path of diplomacy and dialogue to solve some of these problems? Or is he going to pursue confrontation and aggression?” The secretary asked on Thursday.

The wait is rekindling uncomfortable memories for Europeans. Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod described Putin’s actions as “completely unacceptable”, saying he was “trying to take us back to the coldest, darkest days of the Cold War.”

But with Putin’s determination that he will not back down, the shadow of history rests on the shoulders of leaders across the continent, who are becoming increasingly aware that the decisions of the future may lie ahead.

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