KYIV, UKRAINE - With some 125,000 Russian troops built up near the country some said to be as close as 25 miles from the border, Ukrainian President Zelensky snapped. He was reacting to a comment from President Biden, which the president later withdrew implying a “minor incursion” of Russian troops might not require a major reaction from the West.
Zelensky tweeted: “We want to remind the great powers that there are no minor incursions and small nations. Just as there are no minor causalities and little grief from the loss of loved ones. I say this as the President of a great power.”
Which is why Secretary of State Antony Blinken continues his rounds of desperate diplomacy. He was here yesterday. Today he was in Berlin meeting German and European officials. Tomorrow he’s in Switzerland seeing Russian Foreign Minister Lovrov.
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“It’s bigger than a conflict between two countries,” he said, “It’s bigger than Russia and NATO. It’s a crisis with global consequences.”
The U.S. continues to apply pressure. Sanctioning four Ukrainians today for waging a Russian influence effort inside the country and allowing Baltic countries to send US-made weaponry to the Ukrainian military.
For its part, Russia denies it has any intention of invading. A Foreign Ministry spokesperson says that it’s, in fact, the US and West who are causing their own menacing global problems.
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As for the people in Ukrainian capital of Kiev, they have seen it all. Revolutions and uprisings, ongoing fighting between their troops and Russia-backed separatists, and just trying to make it as an independent country next to Russia.
We asked some if they thought Moscow would invade. “It’s a very low probability,” one man answered. “I hope not,” said another. And a young woman offered, “I don’t think we stand a chance if we do get invaded. So hopefully that doesn’t happen.”
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A lot of people in the region and around the world are hoping for that.