Europe

Russia slams Western 'hysteria' over Ukraine

Published : November 22, 2021 13:59 IST

Russia's latest comments come as Western countries voiced alarm over Moscow's increased military activity near Ukraine. Photo: Armed Forces/AA/picture alliance

The Kremlin said it was "not exactly polite" for the U.S. to be accusing Russia of unusual military activity near Ukraine.

After NATO and Russia traded accusations of amassing troops near Ukraine's borders, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissed claims that Russia was preparing an incursion. "This hysteria is being intentionally whipped up," Peskov told state television in remarks broadcast on November 21. "We are being accused of some sort of unusual military activity on our territory by those who brought in their troops from across the ocean," he added, pointing to the U.S. "This neither exactly logical nor exactly polite."

Blinken: 'We know the playbook'

His comments come just a day after top U.S. diplomat Anthony Blinken said Washington had "real concerns" about Russia's troop movements and about Moscow's rhetoric regarding Ukraine. "We know the playbook of trying to cite some illusory provocation from Ukraine or any other country and using that as an excuse for what Russia plans to do all along," Blinken said.

But Peskov urged NATO to stop "concentrating a military fist" near Russia's own borders and to stop arming Ukraine. He also said Ukraine might be looking for a way to solve its problems by force and create "another disaster for itself and everybody in Europe."

Putin warns of 'red lines'

In September, Russia warned that NATO would cross "red lines" if it expanded its military infrastructure in Ukraine. The phrase was echoed by President Vladimir Putin on November 18, with the Kremlin chief complaining that Western strategic bombers with "very serious weapons" were flying within 20 kilometers (12.5 miles) of Russia's borders.

"We're constantly voicing our concerns about this, talking about red lines, but we understand our partners — how shall I put it mildly — have a very superficial attitude to all our warnings and talk of red lines," Putin said in a televised speech. The Russian president also added that Russia needed to seek long-term security guarantees from the West.

The latest comments from the U.S. and Russia come as both sides are working to set up another meeting between Putin and U.S. President Joe Biden following their talks in Geneva this June. While no exact date has been set, Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said there was already a "huge" agenda of things for the two leaders to discuss.

dj/rs (AFP, Reuters, Interfax)

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