Tensions Flare Between Kremlin and U.S. During Heated Meeting

The situation was tense at a meeting in Stockholm between U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov when the Kremlin was again accused of adopting an aggressive stance in Eastern Europe and threatening Ukraine. Russia is believed to be massing significant military forces on the border with Ukraine as part of a strategy of intimidation it is using to make its neighbors wary of contradicting Moscow.

Kremlin warns NATO

Blinken promised Lavrov that there would be “serious consequences” if Russia continues to pursue a confrontation with the Ukrainian government in Kiev.

Hostility between Russia and Ukraine has existed since the overthrow of a Russian-aligned leader in Kiev in 2014 and the Russian invasion of the Crimean Peninsula.

The war between the central government and ethnic Russian separatist groups in eastern Ukraine is ongoing but generally remains stalemated in a state of low intensity conflict.

Blinken claims that the Kremlin is now poised to launch a major attack against Ukraine at any time and he has emphasized that the United States remains supportive of Ukrainian sovereignty.

Russia, for its part, has also been issuing warnings. Moscow has implied that it will respond forcefully to any major escalation of the conflict which threatens the separatist areas.

Vladimir Putin has also warned NATO that any attempts to intervene in the conflict or bring Ukraine into the alliance will be a “red line” for the Kremlin.

Russia poised to attack

Aside from highlighting the current tensions, talks between the US and Russia have not accomplished anything significant for the Ukrainian situation so far.

Global insistence on peace in eastern Ukraine has managed to ensure that instead of decisive large scale battles the region is locked in an eternal state of skirmishing as each side tries to gain an advantage without causing a dramatic escalation.

Russia has been particularly angered by the use of drones in the region by Ukrainian forces, a move which the Kremlin feels gives an unacceptable advantage to Kiev.

Blinken was able to make some bold statements during the meeting but the problem for the Secretary of State is very apparent in geography alone.

Russia shares a border with Ukraine and can easily assist ethnic Russians separatists and justify it by pointing out that the conflict is happening next door.

There has never been much confidence that the United States or any other NATO country will be willing to risk entanglement in a major war over far away Ukraine.

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