Tag Archives: tensions

Tensions erupt as Putin lashes at out UK and orders British sailors: ‘Leave our waters!’

Speaking today, one of Putin’s top officials warned any intrusion near to the Crimea would be met with the “harshest” methods. Following the near clash with the UK vessel last month, Mikhail Popov, deputy secretary of the Kremlin’s Security Council then issued a brutal warning to those aboard the UK’s Royal Navy vessels. In an interview with the state-run Rossiiyskaya Gazeta newspaper, he said: “Similar actions will be thwarted with the harshest methods in future by Russia regardless of the violator’s state allegiance.

“We suggest our opponents think hard about whether it’s worth organising such provocations given the capabilities of Russia’s armed forces.

“It’s not the members of the British government who will be in the ships and vessels used for provocational ends.

“And it’s in that context that I want to ask a question of the same Boris Johnson and Dominic Raab – what will they say to the families of the British sailors who will get hurt in the name of such ‘great’ ideas?”

Russian officials have issued repeated threats to the UK after the HMS Defender was intercepted in the Black Sea.

Although the UK does not recognise Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea, Kremlin vessels ordered the Royal Navy ship to leave immediately last month.

After refusing to do so, the Russian FSB Border Service in tandem with the Black Sea Fleet fired warning shots towards the HMS Defender.

Following those warnings, the Russian government claimed Su-24M aircraft performed a preventative bombing run in the path of the UK ship.

UK officials rejected this summary of events and insisted the Royal Navy vessel was performing a freedom of passage operation.

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“What was actually going on is the Russians were doing a gunnery exercise, they had given prior notice of that, they often do in that area.

“So, I think it’s important people don’t get carried away.

“We never accepted the annexation of Crimea, these were Ukrainian territorial waters.”

Russian forces annexed Crimea in 2014 and despite its claims, no state in the West recognises the territory as part of Russia.

Despite this, Putin labelled the incident as a direct provocation against the Russian state.

His deputy foreign minister, Sergey Ryabkov also claimed Russia may bomb UK warships the next time they sailed close to the Crimean peninsula.

He said: “What can we do? We can appeal to common sense, demand respect for international law.

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This post originally posted here Daily Express :: World Feed

Japan’s ominous warning of impending Taiwan ‘crisis’ amid skyrocketing US-China tensions

The warning was published in the annual defence white paper, which for the first time dealt with the issue of stability around Taiwan. The report paid particular attention to growing military tensions between Beijing and Washington. It noted: “China has further intensified military activities around Taiwan including Chinese aircraft entering the southwestern airspace of Taiwan.

“In the meantime, the United States has demonstrated a clear stance of supporting Taiwan in military aspects, such as transits by US vessels through the Taiwan Strait and weapon sales.”

The report argued that instability in the region would pose a serious threat to Japan’s security and that of the international community.

It added: “Therefore, it is necessary that we pay close attention to the situation with a sense of crisis more than ever before.”

“In the meantime, the United States has demonstrated a clear stance of supporting Taiwan in military aspects, such as transits by US vessels through the Taiwan Strait and weapon sales.”

The report argued that instability in the region would pose a serious threat to Japan’s security and that of the international community.

It added: “Therefore, it is necessary that we pay close attention to the situation with a sense of crisis more than ever before.”

China has stepped up its military activities around Taiwan, as it seeks to stamp its authority over the islands.

Recent months have seen repeated incursions by Chinese fighters into Taiwan’s air defence identification zone (ADIZ).

Beijing claims full sovereignty over Taiwan and has made no secret that it is prepared to use force to take it back.

READ MORE: China war threat: Taiwan activates missiles amid invasion fears

Earlier in July, Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso provoked China’s wrath, when he suggested Japan should team up with the US to defend Taiwan from any invasion.

Beijing reacted with fury to the comments, warning Tokyo they “harmed the political foundation of China-Japan relations”.

Mr Aso later clarified his remarks, saying that any contingency over Taiwan should be resolved through dialogue.

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This post originally posted here Daily Express :: World Feed

Taper tensions: US central bank under pressure as prices surge

Jay Powell, chair of the Federal Reserve, has so far succeeded in steering the US central bank and financial markets towards his view that the surge of inflation gripping America will be fleeting.

But confidence in that judgment was called into question on Tuesday after a larger-than-expected increase in the June consumer price index raised new alarm bells about the extent of inflation in the world’s largest economy.

The data, which showed the CPI jumping 0.9 per cent in June from the previous month — for a year-over-year increase of 5.4 per cent — will pile pressure on Powell to explain his position during congressional hearings this week.

It also increases the risk of a sharper split within the Fed on the next steps in setting monetary policy.

Some officials who sit on the Federal Open Market Committee believe the US central bank should quickly start reducing some of its support for the economy by trimming its $ 120bn of monthly asset purchases in light of strong growth in US output and high inflation.

But Powell has suggested the Fed should move cautiously on the grounds that the labour market remains far from a full recovery and inflationary pressures will eventually abate. He has the backing of several top officials, including the president of the Fed’s New York branch, John Williams.

“The continued high [inflation] prints will increase tensions on the FOMC,” said Peter Williams, an economist at Evercore ISI.

“Some more hawkish members will likely point to the pattern in inflation over the past few months as suggesting that tapering should begin as early as September,” Williams added, although he predicted “the bulk of the committee will favour the transitory explanation for now”.

The CPI figures released on Tuesday do not necessarily point to inflation running out of control: annual price increases are spiking due to a combination of factors, such as the a burst of economic activity spurred by the post-pandemic reopening, supply chain bottlenecks and energy costs.

Line chart of Year-over-year change (%) showing US consumer price index soars

The Fed’s “base case” is that these pressures will subside over time.

Nor do central bank officials believe that long-term disinflationary forces — such as globalisation and automation — are in retreat.

And some Fed officials still worry that the Delta variant of the coronavirus, which is spreading rapidly, could hurt demand in the US, which might also tame price increases.

But the extent of the June consumer price increases highlights how, even if transitory, this period of soaring inflation in the US economy may be longer and more pronounced than previously anticipated.

For instance, the sharp increase in used car prices — one of the main factors behind higher US inflation — had abated before the June figures showed it once again accelerating.

“If, after a series of eye-popping numbers, people step back and say ‘this is not a one-off, this is a trend’ . . . we could get into a situation where inflation expectations start to move up,” said Randall Kroszner, a professor at the University of Chicago business school and a former Fed governor.

“That is very dangerous and problematic for the Fed.”

Market measures of inflation expectations have indeed moved higher in recent days, but still do not suggest broad-based concerns about runaway consumer prices.

One popular short-term gauge, which serves as a proxy for expected inflation over two years, now hovers around 2.8 per cent. Its longer-term counterpart, the 10-year break-even rate, sits below 2.4 per cent.

The containment of investor expectations underscores the Fed’s command of the inflation narrative, said Kroszner.

“Suddenly people are experiencing inflation that they haven’t seen [in decades], but that has not spooked the market, and it doesn’t seem to have spooked individuals,” he said.

“That is a very difficult needle to thread, and Jay and his colleagues at the Fed have been able to do that.”

Although Powell has embraced the view that the inflation spike will be transitory, he has also stressed that the Fed is far from complacent about the perils of excessive price increases — and that it stands ready to act if fresh data cause alarm.

“Forecasters have a lot to be humble about. It’s a highly uncertain business. And we’re very much attuned to the risks and watching the data carefully,” Powell said after the last FOMC meeting in June.

During his appearances before the House of Representatives financial services committee on Wednesday and the Senate banking committee on Thursday, the Fed chair is likely to face criticism from Republicans who say the central bank is overly wedded to its “easy money” policies.

Pat Toomey, the Republican senator from Pennsylvania, recently told the Financial Times that the central bank risked falling “behind the curve” on inflation risks.

Still, Powell is not expected to signal any shifts in policy or communication during his appearances in front of lawmakers this week.

“His rhetoric on [inflation] is ‘we feel like we’ve got this under control, we think that it’s OK, but if the data changes we can adapt accordingly’ — that’s essentially what he’ll say,” predicted Ian Katz of Capital Alpha Partners.

He added: “The question is not going to surprise him, he’ll be ready for it. Maybe his answer won’t satisfy some people but that’s the answer they’re going to get.”

Democrats, meanwhile, will be watching Powell for reassurance that the Fed does not intend to waver from the central bank’s new monetary framework. That framework adopts a more lenient approach to inflation and a more dogged pursuit of full employment than in the past, as well as a reluctance to tighten policy based on the mere expectation of higher prices.

But especially after Tuesday’s data, some are concerned that by sticking to that plot the US central bank is allowing the economy to run too hot.

“There are certainly elements of inflation that are transitory . . . but for anybody who talks to companies, they quickly get the message that there are a lot of things that are more persistent,” said Mohamed El-Erian, chief economic adviser at Allianz and former co-investment chief at the bond group Pimco.

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Russia warns UK and US are ‘tempting fate’ sending Navy to Black Sea – tensions high

Tensions flared between Britain and Moscow on Wednesday after the HMS Defender sailed near Crimea. A state media broadcast issued the chilling challenge to the US and UK, warning Russia will defend its border by any means.

Moscow’s Defence Ministry told the US and UK it was ill-advised to approach the coast of Crimea.

Major General Igor Konashenkov, the ministry’s spokesperson, told the Pentagon and the Royal Navy “not to tempt fate in vain”.

He added the HMS Defender was “not more than a target” for the Black Sea fleet’s defences.

More than 20 Russian aircraft and two coastguard ships shadowed the British warship as it sailed near Crimea.

READ MORE: ‘Aggressive’ Russia and China believe Joe Biden is ‘weak’

On Wednesday, Moscow claimed one of its patrol ships fired warning shots near the HMS Defender.

Russia’s Defence Minister also claimed jets dropped bombs in the ship’s path as it sailed around 12 miles away from Crimea.

The UK Government rejected Russia’s account of the incident and denied that any warning shots had been fired.

The Ministry of Defence added in a statement: “We believe the Russians were undertaking a gunnery exercise in the Black Sea and provided the maritime community with prior-warning of their activity.

“No shots were directed at HMS Defender and we do not recognise the claim that bombs were dropped in her path.”

A BBC correspondent described hostile warnings over the radio as the warship’s crew prepared for a possible confrontation, disputing the Government’s claims.

Sergei Ryabkov, Deputy Foreign Minister, also threatened the UK and US, suggesting the West is failing to accept Crimea was part of Russia.

He reiterated claims Russia was ready to defend its borders using all means, including military force.

On Friday, he said: “What can we do? We can appeal to common sense, demand respect for international law.

“If this does not help, we can bomb not only in the direction but also on target, if our colleagues do not understand.

“I warn everyone violating the state borders of the Russian Federation under the slogan of free navigation, from such provocative steps, because the security of our country comes first.”


Despite internationally recognised as part of Ukraine, Russia claims Crimea as its own territory.

In 2014, Russia annexed the peninsula, sparking international outrage with fears of conflict with Ukraine still present.

In April, Moscow warned of a conflict after more than 100,000 troops amassed near Ukraine’s border.

US President Joe Biden recently held a summit in Switzerland with Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Biden revealed he told Mr Putin of the USA’s “unwavering commitment to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine”, but added “no threats or scare tactics” were issued.

Boris Johnson was asked about the HMS Defender’s route on Thursday, and insisted he believes “it was wholly appropriate to use international waters”.

In an outright challenge to Russia, the Prime Minister added: “By the way the important point is that we don’t recognise the Russian annexation of Crimea.

“This is part of sovereign Ukrainian territory.

“It was entirely right that we should vindicate the law and pursue freedom of navigation in the way that we did, take the shortest route between two points, and that’s what we did.

“We don’t recognise the Russian annexation of Crimea, it was illegal, these are Ukrainian waters and it was entirely right to use them to go from A to B.”

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: World Feed

Russia tensions surge as UK hits back at 'untrue' HMS Dragon expulsion claim

According to The Kremlin, President Vladimir Putin’s navy and air force “expelled” the UK destroyer as it navigated off the coast of Crimea last October. But The Ministry of Defence has blasted Moscow’s announcement as “categorically untrue”.
A spokesman clarified that the vessel was employing its “right of innocent passage” and was not stopped from doing it.

He said: “HMS Dragon was taking the most direct route between two port visits, navigating a recognised safe route for all international shipping within Ukrainian waters.

“The Russian Federation Navy did not impede HMS Dragon’s passage.

“She navigated without incident, exercising our right of innocent passage under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.”

General Vladimir Kulishov, deputy director of Russia’s FSB, said the UK destroyer dismissed “warnings” not to enter “Russian territorial waters”.

He said: “The destroyer Dragon of the British Navy crossed the state border of the Russian Federation in the area of Cape Khersones in the Black Sea.

“The destroyer’s captain responded with a poor signal to the demand to immediately leave Russian territorial waters.

“As a result of the joint actions with the Russian Navy and the Russian Aerospace Forces, the warship was expelled into neutral waters.”

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This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: World Feed

South China Sea tensions explode as US sends destroyer through Strait – Beijing backlash

This prompted further fears of all-out conflict in the disputed region. The US Navy released a statement explaining why the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, USS Curtis Wilbur, was complying with international law.
The statement read: “The ship’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the US commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific.

“The United States military will continue to fly, sail, and operate anywhere international law allows.”

But China denounced the US Navy for “disrupting” peace in the contested waters.

A spokesman for China’s Eastern Theatre Command said: “The US actions sends the wrong signals to Taiwan independence forces, deliberately disrupting the regional situation and endangering peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.”

The remarks come after a former Australian Major General warned of a “very big war” between the US and China in the event that China decides to take back Taiwan by force.

China’s stance toward its neighbour has become increasingly aggressive and its rhetoric is ever more belligerent.

In April, China’s Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng insisted that Beijing “will never allow Taiwan to be independent.”

Retired Major General and Liberal Senator Jim Dolan pointed out that Washington is “not convinced” that it could win any such military clash and that Australia could face “collateral attacks” from Beijing.

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: World Feed

Air raid sirens, explosions heard in Jerusalem amid tensions

JERUSALEM — Explosions have been heard in Jerusalem after air raid sirens sounded.The sirens came Monday, shortly after the Hamas militant group in Gaza had set a deadline for Israel to remove its security forces from the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

Abu Obeida, spokesman for Hamas’ military wing, said the rocket attack was a response to what he called Israeli “crimes and aggression” in Jerusalem. “This is a message the enemy has to understand well,” he said.He threatened more attacks if Israel again invades the Al-Aqsa compound or carries out evictions of Palestinian families in a neighborhood of east Jerusalem.

The sounds of outgoing rocket fire were heard in Gaza shortly before the sirens went off. Later, a new barrage of rockets was heard.

There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS STORY. AP’s earlier report is below:

Israeli police firing tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets clashed with stone-throwing Palestinians at a flashpoint Jerusalem holy site on Monday, the latest in a series of confrontations that threatened to push the contested city toward wider conflict.

In an apparent attempt to avoid further confrontation, Israeli authorities changed the planned route of a march by ultranationalist Jews through the Muslim Quarter of the Old City. The marchers were ordered to avoid the area and sent on a different route circumventing the Muslim Quarter on their way to the Western Wall, the holiest site where Jews can pray.

But tensions remained high after Monday morning’s violence.

More than a dozen tear gas canisters and stun grenades landed in the Al-Aqsa Mosque, one of Islam’s holiest sites, as police and protesters faced off inside the walled compound that surrounds it, said an Associated Press photographer at the scene. Smoke rose in front of the mosque and the iconic golden-domed shrine on the site, and rocks littered the nearby plaza. Inside one area of the compound, shoes and debris lay scattered over ornate carpets.

More than 305 Palestinians were hurt, including 228 who went to hospitals and clinics for treatment, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent. Seven of the injured were in serious condition. Police said 21 officers were hurt, including three who were hospitalized. Israeli paramedics said seven Israeli civilians were also hurt.

The confrontation was the latest after weeks of mounting tensions between Palestinians and Israeli troops in the Old City of Jerusalem, the emotional center of their conflict. There have been almost nightly clashes during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, already a time of heightened religious sensitivities.

Most recently, the tensions have been fueled by the planned eviction of dozens of Palestinians from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of east Jerusalem where Israeli settlers have waged a lengthy legal battle to take over properties. Monday was expected to be particularly tense since Israelis mark it as Jerusalem Day to celebrate their capture of east Jerusalem in the 1967 Mideast war.

On Monday, two anti-Arab members of Israel’s parliament, surrounded by an entourage and police, pushed through a line of protesters in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. Several Arab members of parliament were among those trying to stop Betzalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben Gvir, amid shouting and jostling. At one point during the scrum, the protesters pounded on the sides of a dumpster, and one man yelled at Smotrich in Arabic, “Get out of here, you dog!”
Smotrich and Ben Gvir eventually got to the other side of a police barricade and entered a house already inhabited by settlers.Over the past few days, hundreds of Palestinians and several dozen police officers have been hurt in clashes in and around the Old City, including the sacred compound, which is known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary. The compound which has been the trigger for rounds of Israel-Palestinian violence in the past, is Islam’s third-holiest site and considered Judaism’s holiest.

An AP photographer at the scene said that early Monday morning, protesters had barricaded gates to the walled compound with wooden boards and scrap metal. Sometime after 7. a.m., clashes erupted, with those inside throwing stones at police deployed outside. Police entered the compound, firing tear gas, rubber-coated steel pellets and stun grenades.

At some point during the morning about 400 people, both young protesters and older worshippers, were inside the carpeted Al-Aqsa Mosque. Police fired tear gas and stun grenades into the mosque.

Police said protesters hurled stones at officers and onto an adjoining roadway near the Western Wall, where thousands of Israeli Jews had gathered to pray.

After several days of Jerusalem confrontations, Israel has come under growing international criticism for its heavy-handed actions at the site, particularly during Ramadan.

The U.N. Security Council scheduled closed consultations on the situation Monday.

Late Sunday, the U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan spoke to his Israeli counterpart, Meir Ben-Shabbat. A White House statement said that Sullivan called on Israel to “pursue appropriate measures to ensure calm” and expressed the U.S.’s “serious concerns” about the ongoing violence and planned evictions.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pushed back against the criticism Monday, saying Israel is determined to ensure the rights of worship for all and that this “requires from time to time stand up and stand strong as Israeli police and our security forces are doing now.”

Ofir Gendelman, a spokesman for Netanyahu, claimed in a tweet that “extremist Palestinians planned well in advance to carry out riots” at the holy site, sharing photos of mounds of stones and wooden barricades inside the compound.

Ayman Odeh, a leading Arab politician in Israel, blamed the violence on Israel’s discriminatory policies toward the Palestinians and said it had provoked the violence. “Wherever you find occupation, you will find resistance,” he said at a news conference in Sheikh Jarrah.

In other violence, Palestinian protesters hurled rocks at an Israeli vehicle driving just outside the Old City walls. The driver later told public broadcaster Kan that his windows were smashed by stones and pepper spray shot into the car. CCTV footage released by the police showed a crowd surrounding the car and pelting it with rocks when it swerved off the road and into a stone barrier and a bystander.Police said two passengers were injured.

The day began with police announcing that Jews would be barred from visiting the holy site on Jerusalem Day, which is marked with a flag-waving parade through the Old City that is widely perceived by Palestinians as a provocative display in the contested city.

But just as the parade was about to begin, police said they were altering the route at the instruction of political leaders. Several thousand people, many of them from Jewish settlements in the West Bank, were participating.

In the 1967 war in which Israel captured east Jerusalem, it also took the West Bank and Gaza Strip. It later annexed east Jerusalem and considers the entire city its capital. The Palestinians seek all three areas for a future state, with east Jerusalem as their capital.

The recent round of violence began when Israel blocked off a popular spot where Muslims traditionally gather each night during Ramadan at the end of their daylong fast. Israel later removed the restrictions, but clashes quickly resumed amid tensions over the planned eviction of Palestinians from Sheikh Jarrah.

Israel’s Supreme Court postponed a key ruling Monday that could have forced dozens of Palestinians from their homes, citing the “circumstances.”

The tensions in Jerusalem have threatened to reverberate throughout the region.

Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip have fired several barrages of rockets into Israel, and protesters allied with the ruling Hamas militant group have launched dozens of incendiary balloons into Israel, setting off fires across the southern part of the country.

Hamas issued an ultimatum, giving Israel until 6 p.m. to remove its forces from the mosque compound and Sheikh Jarrah and release Palestinians detained in the latest clashes. It was not immediately clear what Hamas planned to do if its demands weren’t met.

In response, COGAT, the Israeli Defense Ministry organ responsible for crossings with the Gaza Strip, announced Monday that it was closing the Erez crossing to all but humanitarian and exceptional cases until further notice.

The video above is from a previous report.

Copyright © 2021 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

Author: AP

This post originally appeared on ABC13 RSS Feed

Tensions boil at UT-Austin where students are refusing to work

“A targeted incident”

“A rebuke of their spinelessness”

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Author: Kate McGee
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China accuses Australia of ‘economic coercion’ amid escalating tensions

Author: RT
This post originally appeared on RT Business News

China’s ambassador to Australia has pinned the blame on Canberra for the rapidly deteriorating relations between the two countries, accusing Australia of escalating the conflict.

In a lengthy statement to the Australia China Business Council on Thursday, ambassador Cheng Jingye said Canberra is “changing its perceptions about China” by now considering Beijing a threat rather than a partner. The diplomat further stressed that claims of Chinese diplomatic and economic coercion are irrelevant and serve as “a cover-up” to shift responsibility.

Also on rt.com Beijing vows to fight back after Australia cancels China’s Belt and Road project in state of Victoria

“If there is any coercion, it must have been done by the Australian side,” Cheng said, adding that Beijing’s actions were meant to “uphold its legitimate rights and interests, prevent bilateral ties from further plunging and move them back onto the right track.”

The ambassador cited economic data as an example of Australia’s wrongdoings. According to Cheng, China’s investment in Australia dropped more than 90% in four years, while Australian exports to China remained high, standing at AU$ 148 billion (US$ 115 billion) in 2020. He also compared the number of trade-related probes launched by each side, noting that Canberra opened 106 anti-dumping investigations into Chinese imports, while Beijing launched just four into Australian goods. 

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Other coercive practices cited by Cheng include “discriminatory” restrictions on Chinese investments, as well as the “suppressing” of Chinese high-tech firms, apparently referring to the exclusion of tech giants Huawei and ZTE from Australia’s 5G networks. He also addressed Australia’s recent decision to tear up the Belt and Road initiative between China and the state of Victoria, saying that it was among a long list of “negative moves” that damaged the bilateral relations. 

Tensions between the two countries have been increasing for several years, especially after Canberra banned Chinese vendors from its 5G rollout. The situation worsened last year when Australia called for an international inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus outbreak.

The conflict has had an impact on trade, with many Australian companies facing losses due to decreased shipments and hiked tariffs on exports including wine, barley, meat and coal.

Another downward spiral in China-Australia relations came last week when Canberra announced its decision to abandon the Belt and Road agreement, and the Australian government signaled that it might reverse long-term leases held by Chinese companies at the port in Darwin.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section

War fears as Russia shows ‘readiness to stand up against the West’ after Ukraine tensions

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: World Feed

In his annual state of the nation address last week, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin warned Western countries not to cross a “red line” with Moscow. He added that such a move would cause an “asymmetrical, rapid and harsh” response from Russia.

Glenn Diesen, professor at the University of South-Eastern Norway and editor at Russia in Global Affairs, explained that Mr Putin’s “red line” comment was a new move from Moscow.

He told Express.co.uk: “The explicit reference to red lines is somewhat new for Moscow, which suggests a readiness to stand up against the West.

“Red lines and deterrence rely on the three C’s: capability, credibility and communication.

“Moscow has clearly demonstrated its military capabilities and credibility that they will be used to uphold red lines, and now the red lines have also been communicated.”

Prof Diesen explained that red lines are designed to de-escalate tensions “by preventing an adversary from taking a destabilising action”.

He added: “It is important to recognise that Russia considers itself a status-quo power seeking to deter Western expansion and revisionism along its borders.

“This entails NATO expansion into Ukraine, regime change by toppling or assassinating leaders in states allied with Russia, instigating instability within Russia, and supporting Kiev’s efforts to retake Donbass by military force.”

Tensions escalated this month amid reports of a military build-up of Russian forces near the Ukrainian border.

READ MORE: Russia adds US to ‘unfriendly states’ list as tensions rise

Prof Diesen warned that Western countries should take Russia’s red lines “very seriously as they will uphold them”.

He added: “Russia considers NATO expansion into Ukraine to be an existential threat and will not accept it any more than Washington could accept Soviet missiles in Cuba in 1962.

“The West tends to believe that if more pressure can be mounted against Russia, then Moscow will accept unilateral concessions and fall in line.

“In contrast, Moscow believes that efforts to reconcile relations and reach a political settlement with the West has failed and have been interpreted by the West as weakness that has emboldened NATO.”