Biden administration officials reiterated on Sunday that the United States believes a Russian invasion is “imminent,” despite Ukraine’s recent downplaying of the crisis. “We have been nothing but clear and transparent about our concerns here at the Pentagon regarding the rapid buildup over the past several months around the border with Ukraine and in Belarus,” said Pentagon press secretary John F. Kirby, on “Fox News”. Sunday.”
Understanding Russia’s relationship with the West
Tension between the regions is rising and Russian President Vladimir Putin is increasingly willing to take geopolitical risks and press his demands.
For U.S. lawmakers, there’s “incredibly strong bipartisan will to have serious consequences for Russia if it invades Ukraine, and in some cases for what it has already done,” said Sen. Bob Menendez , Democrat of New Jersey, President of the Senate. Foreign Relations Committee, appearing with the committee’s top Republican, Sen. Jim Risch of Idaho, on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday.
Mr Menendez said the legislation being discussed was to “include a variety of elements – massive sanctions against the most important Russian banks, crippling their economy, significant in terms of the consequences for the average Russian and their accounts and pensions , more deadly assistance to Ukraine.
Sanctions, however, were not Mr. Lavrov’s focus on Sunday – NATO was.
Through the Russian Foreign Ministry, he said, an official request was sent on Sunday to NATO and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, a European security alliance whose Russia is a member, “with an urgent request to explain how they intend to fulfill their obligation not to strengthen their security at the expense of the security of others”.
“If they don’t intend to, then they have to explain why,” Lavrov added. “That will be the key question to determine our next proposals, which we will report to the Russian president,” he said.
Although Lavrov did not indicate which specific issue of NATO’s response was unclear, the Kremlin sharply criticized NATO’s so-called open-door policy of granting membership to the former communist bloc countries without taking into account Russia’s security concerns. In his remarks, Lavrov reiterated a frequent Kremlin complaint that NATO, in the years following the Soviet collapse, had crept closer and closer to the Russian border.