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Russia raises negotiation stakes with chance of navy deployment to Cuba, Venezuela

Russia raises negotiation stakes with chance of navy deployment to Cuba, Venezuela

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia on Thursday sharply raised the stakes in its dispute with the West over Ukraine, with a prime diplomat refusing to rule out a Russian navy deployment to Cuba and Venezuela if tensions with america mount.

Deputy International Minister Sergei Ryabkov, who led the Russian delegation in Monday’s talks with the U.S. in Geneva, stated in televised remarks that he would “neither verify nor exclude” the chance that Russia might ship navy belongings to Cuba and Venezuela if the talks fail and U.S. strain on Russia mounts.

WATCH: U.S., NATO meet with Russia over large troop buildup at Ukraine border

The negotiations in Geneva and Wednesday’s NATO-Russia assembly in Vienna did not slender the hole on Moscow’s safety calls for amid a buildup of Russian troops close to Ukraine. Whereas Moscow demanded a halt to NATO enlargement, Washington and its allies firmly rejected that as a nonstarter.

Talking in an interview with Russian RTVI TV, Ryabkov famous that “all of it depends upon the motion by our U.S. counterparts,” pointing to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s warning that Moscow might take military-technical measures if the U.S. provokes the Kremlin and turns up navy strain on it.

Whereas voicing concern that NATO might probably use Ukrainian territory for the deployment of missiles able to reaching Moscow in simply 5 minutes, Putin famous that Russian warships armed with the most recent Zircon hypersonic cruise missile would give Russia an analogous functionality if deployed in impartial waters.

Zircon, which Putin stated flies at 9 instances the velocity of sound to a variety of greater than 1,000 kilometers (620 miles), is tough to intercept and may very well be fitted with standard or nuclear warheads. It’s set to be commissioned by the Russian navy later this 12 months and put in aboard its frigates and submarines.

Ryabkov’s assertion adopted his feedback final month through which he in contrast the present tensions over Ukraine with the 1962 Cuban Missile Disaster.

That disaster erupted when the Soviet Union deployed missiles to Cuba and the U.S. imposed a naval blockade of the island. U.S. President John F. Kennedy and Soviet chief Nikita Khrushchev agreed to defuse tensions by making a deal for Moscow to withdraw its missiles in trade for Washington’s pledge to not invade Cuba and the elimination of U.S. missiles from Turkey.

Ryabkov stated a refusal by the U.S. and its allies to think about the important thing Russian demand for ensures in opposition to the alliance’s enlargement to Ukraine and different ex-Soviet nations makes it laborious to debate such points as arms management and confidence-building steps that Washington says it’s prepared to barter.

“The U.S. needs to conduct a dialogue on some components of the safety scenario … to ease the tensions after which proceed the method of geopolitical and navy improvement of the brand new territories, coming nearer to Moscow,” he stated. “We’ve got nowhere to retreat.”

Ryabkov’s feedback mark the primary time in the course of the present tensions over Ukraine when a senior official talked about the potential for Russian navy deployments to the Western hemisphere.

In December 2018, Russia briefly dispatched a pair of its nuclear-capable Tu-160 bombers to Venezuela in a present of assist for Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro amid Western strain.

Quickly after his first election in 2000, Putin ordered the closure of a Russian digital surveillance facility in Cuba throughout a interval of rapprochement with the West, however Moscow has intensified contacts with Cuba in recent times as tensions with the U.S. and its allies mounted.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov famous “some optimistic components and nuances” in the course of the talks, however described them as “unsuccessful” due to stark disagreements on Russia’s key calls for.

“The talks have been initiated to obtain particular solutions to concrete principal points that have been raised, and disagreements remained on these principal points, which is unhealthy,” he stated in a convention name with reporters.

Peskov warned of an entire rupture in U.S.-Russian relations if proposed sanctions concentrating on Putin and different prime civilian and navy leaders are adopted. The measures, proposed by Senate Democrats, would additionally goal main main Russian monetary establishments if Moscow sends troops into Ukraine.

Peskov criticized the proposals as an try and up the strain on Moscow in the course of the talks, saying it wouldn’t work.

“It considerations sanctions, which making an allowance for the inevitable enough response, successfully quantity to an initiative to rupture relations,” he warned, including that Russia will reply in form to guard its pursuits.

Russian International Minister Sergey Lavrov additionally denounced the proposed sanctions as a mirrored image of U.S. “conceitedness,” including that Moscow expects a written response to its calls for from the U.S. and NATO subsequent week in an effort to mull additional steps.

The talks come as an estimated 100,000 combat-ready Russian troops, tanks and heavy navy tools are massed close to Ukraine’s japanese border. The buildup has induced deep considerations in Kyiv and the West that Moscow is making ready for an invasion. Russia denies that and in flip accuses the West of threatening its safety by positioning navy personnel and tools in Central and Japanese Europe.

Peskov rebuffed the West’s requires Russia to assist de-escalate tensions by pulling again troops from areas close to Ukraine, noting that the nation is free to maneuver them wherever it needs by itself territory.

“It’s hardly doable for NATO to dictate to us the place we must always transfer our armed forces on Russian territory,” he stated.

Peskov underscored that Russia is able to proceed the talks however needs them to supply outcomes. “There might be no deficit of a political will to proceed the negotiations,” he stated.

Tensions revolving round Ukraine and Russia’s calls for on the West once more appeared on the desk at Thursday’s assembly of the Group for Safety and Cooperation in Vienna.

Polish International Minister Zbigniew Rau, who assumed the place of the OSCE Chairman-in-Workplace, famous in his opening speech that “the danger of warfare within the OSCE space is now larger than ever earlier than within the final 30 years.”

“For a number of weeks, we have now been confronted with the potential for a serious navy escalation in Japanese Europe,” he stated.

In 2014, Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula after the ouster of its Moscow-friendly chief and threw its weight behind a separatist insurgency within the nation’s east, the place over 14,000 individuals have been killed in additional than seven years of preventing.

Emily Schultheis reported from Vienna.

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