Moscow responds to Biden’s ‘aggressive rhetoric’
The Kremlin has condemned the flow of what it describes as “aggressive rhetoric” from American officials, as tensions continue to build over potential NATO expansion in Eastern Europe and Moscow's concerns about the project.
“We have been hearing too much aggressive rhetoric from across the ocean in recent weeks. This unfortunately does not contribute to the relaxation of tensions in any way,” President Vladimir Putin's spokesman told Russian media on Sunday.
The remark came in response to threats by the US president on Saturday that Moscow would pay a “terrible price” should it decide to attack Ukraine.
“We will find it required that we’ll have to send more American and NATO troops into the eastern flank, the B9 – all those NATO countries where we have a sacred obligation to defend them against any attack by Russia,” Biden said, referring to the Eastern European members of the US-led bloc that comprise the so-called Bucharest Nine.
While the US president avoided directly promising to send the military into Ukraine, he said Washington would “continue to provide … defense capacities for the Ukrainian people.”
Over the past few weeks, Western media and senior government officials alike have repeatedly alleged that Russia is seeking to “invade” its neighbor Ukraine, citing as evidence the fact that Moscow has moved troops around its own territory. The estimates regarding the alleged invasion force have varied wildly, with "sources" claiming anywhere up to 175,000 soldiers have been assembled to take part in the supposed operation.
Russia has consistently denied any intent to invade Ukraine, pointing out that it was NATO troop maneuvers and the warlike rhetoric coming from the West that had created the tensions on its borders in the first place.
The Kremlin repeated these points on Saturday, stressing that Russia was free to move its troops anywhere it pleased within its own territory. At the same time, “US warplanes are getting closer to Ukraine, and American weaponry is advancing towards our territory,” spokesman Dmitry Peskov noted, warning that such a demonstration of support was “pushing” the Kiev authorities towards trying to solve the years-long civil conflict in Eastern Ukraine by force.
“If they [Kiev] launch an offensive against their own people once again, it will be another disaster for Europe,” he added.