Tensions between Washington and Moscow continue to rise following the recent deployment of Russian troops along the border with Ukraine.
The assertion of a Russian official that Moscow does not rule out a military deployment in Cuba and Venezuela in the event that pressure from the United States increases was not on the table at the talks that ended this week in Vienna, and would be answered “decisively.” reported a senior US official.
“This was not brought up in the talks, if Russia did, we would act decisively,” White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters at a news conference Tuesday from Washington.
The US official’s remarks came after Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, who led the Russian delegation to Monday’s negotiations in Geneva, said in televised remarks on Thursday that he could neither confirm nor exclude the possibility of Russia setting up a military infrastructure in Cuba and Venezuela.
The interim government of Venezuela, through a statement released by the embassy and by its representative in Washington, Carlos Vecchio, rejected “the Kremlin’s interventionist statements.”
“Instead of contributing to the recovery of Latin America in the post-pandemic era, the Russian government seeks to transfer its conflict from Europe to the Americas,” Vecchio said, quoted in the statement .
In response to the statements of the interim government, the Venezuelan Defense Minister, Vladimir Padrino López, described in a tweet as “vile spokesman for the anti-homeland” the signs of rejection by the Venezuelan opposition.
The minister, who accused the opponents of “begging for military intervention and sanctions against Venezuela” by the US, supported the military cooperation relations that Caracas maintains with Moscow.
An offshoot of the situation in Ukraine?
Talks in Geneva and Wednesday’s meeting between Russia and NATO in Vienna have failed to reduce disagreements over Russia’s security demands, as Russia keeps troops stationed near Ukraine.
In an interview with Russian television RTVI , Ryabkov reported that “everything depends on the actions of our American counterparts,” adding that President Vladimir Putin has warned that Russia could take military-technical measures if the United States acts to provoke Russia and increase military pressure.
Tension between the great powers has risen since Russia posted thousands of troops on its border with Ukraine, which has been seen by NATO and the US as an act of provocation, leading to talks in Austria to de-escalate the political tension.
President Vladimir Putin has argued that it is Russia that may feel “threatened” by the West’s growing military support for its eastern European neighbours.
At the press conference, however, Sullivan was categorical about any Russian action: “Our position is very clear: if the Russian Armed Forces cross the border of Ukraine to take territory, that would generate a response from the United States and the international community. ”.
Even so, the senior White House official explained that “the United States has not concluded that Russia has decided to take a military path in Ukraine”, for Washington, he said, there is still “a path to diplomacy”.
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