A group of former US diplomats asked the White House to launch a ‘diplomatic counteroffensive’ against Russia
Former US State Department and national security officials have argued that President Joe Biden must forestall a potential Russian attack on Ukraine by threatening Moscow with “major and painful” sanctions.
A group of 24 former US national security officials and diplomats urged the West to “widen its political counteroffensive” against Moscow.
“We believe the United States should, in closest consultation with its NATO allies and with Ukraine, take immediate steps to affect the Kremlin’s cost-benefit calculations before the Russian leadership opts for further military escalation,” the group wrote in a statement published by the Atlantic Council, a US-based think tank.
“Such a response would include a package of major and painful sanctions that would be applied immediately if Russia assaults Ukraine,” the statement read. “Ideally, the outline of these sanctions would be communicated now to Moscow, so that the Kremlin has a clear understanding of the magnitude of the economic hit it will face.”
The signatories of the appeal included former American envoys to Russia Michael McFaul and Alexander Vershbow, and former envoys to Ukraine Steven Pifer and John Hersbt. Veteran US diplomats Strobe Talbott and Kurt Volker also signed the statement, as did author and political scientist Francis Fukuyama.
The statement was published shortly after the Russian and US presidents spoke by phone on Thursday. It was their second conversation after the leaders met via video link on December 7, when they attempted to defuse tensions over Ukraine.
In recent months, Western officials and media have been accusing Moscow of amassing troops and military hardware with the potential intention of invading its neighbor. The authors of the statement reiterated this claim, arguing that Russia was likely “setting the stage for launching a major conventional assault” against Ukraine. They urged NATO to bolster Kiev’s defense capabilities with supplies of Javelin anti-tank missiles and Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, as well as radar equipment.
Moscow repeatedly denied that it was planning any action against Ukraine. At the same time, Putin said that Moscow sees the continued expansion of the Western military bloc eastward as a threat. Last month, Russia offered the US and NATO each to sign treaties that would ban the movement of Western military infrastructure closer to its borders and effectively bar Ukraine from joining the alliance.
NATO rejected these terms, but highlighted the importance of maintaining dialogue with Moscow and seeking ways of de-escalation. The US-Russian and NATO-Russian talks are scheduled for this month.
https://ift.tt/3EMI9nD 01, 2022 at 05:22PM
from RT – Daily news