Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Sunday criticized U.S. news media for “artificially” creating panic about an invasion after the release of satellite images on Nov. 8 showed around 90,000 Russian troops gathered near Ukraine’s border.
FILE PHOTO: Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov visits the Dream Island amusement park ahead of its upcoming inauguration in Moscow, Russia February 27, 2020. REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov/Pool/File Photo – RC20NG9M8QPA
“This hysteria is being whipped up artificially,” Peskov said on state television. “Those who have brought their armed forces from overseas are accusing us of unusual military activity on our own territory. That is, the United States.”
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Nov. 14 said the number had increased to around 100,000 troops, making it clear to the world “who really wants peace.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy attends a joint news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel after a meeting at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, Tuesday, June 18, 2019. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
Russia dismissed suggestions of an imminent attack as inflammatory, instead criticizing the increased activity by NATO in the region taken as a response to Russian activity, Reuters reported at the time.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Saturday declined to say whether U.S. intelligence worried about an imminent Russian invasion, the Moscow Times reported.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken listens during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021 on Capitol Hill in Washington. Blinken was questioned about the Biden administration’s handling of the U.S. withdraw from Afghanistan. (Drew Angerer/Pool via AP) (Drew Angerer/Pool via AP)
“We don’t know what President Putin’s intentions are. But we do know what’s happened in the past,” Blinken said. “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 on Nov. 12 warned that Russia could claim “some kind of provocation” and then invade, following a plan that led to Russia establishing control of Crimea in 2014. The U.S. remains in “close consultation” with its European allies as it continues to monitor the situation.
“I can just say that based on the past, we have real concerns about what we’re seeing in the present,” Blinken explained. “And it would be a serious mistake for Russia to engage in a repeat of what it did in 2014.”
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Sunday that preparations were underway for another summit between Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Joe Biden.