Russland, Ukraine, NATO – der Sammler, 1. Dezember

Der ohnehin unversöhnliche Ton zwischen Russland und dem Westen, vor allem den USA und der NATO, wird noch ein bisschen rauher. Der russische Präsident Wladimir Putin verlangte am (heutigen) 1. Dezember Sicherheitsgarantien für sein Land und einen Stopp einer möglichen Ausweitung der NATO nach Osten ebenso wie Garantien, dass keine weitreichenden Waffensysteme in seinen Nachbarländern stationiert würden. Die USA und die NATO wiederum beschuldigten Russland, Aggressionen bis zur Invasion der Ukraine vorzubereiten.

Zum Nachlesen:

• Der russische Präsident sprach bei einem Empfang für neue Botschafter in Moskau, darunter als einzigem NATO-Mitglied der Vertreter Italiens, von einer zunehmenden Bedrohung seine Landes. Russland werde angemessene militärisch-technische Maßnahmen ergreifen, wenn die Allianz mit ihrer Infrastruktur näher an die russischen Grenzen heranrücke.

Die wesentlichen Passagen der Rede Putins  in der vom Kreml veröffentlichten englischen Übersetzung:

By the way, the threat on our western border is really growing, and we have mentioned it many times. It is enough to see how close NATO military infrastructure has moved to Russia’s borders. This is more than serious for us.
In this situation, we are taking appropriate military-technical measures. But, I repeat, we are not threatening anyone and it is at the very least irresponsible to accuse us of this, given the real state of affairs. This would mean laying the blame at the wrong door, as the Russian saying goes.
In my speech at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs I already stressed that the priority facing Russian diplomacy at this juncture is to try to ensure that Russia is granted reliable and long-term security guarantees.
While engaging in dialogue with the United States and its allies, we will insist on the elaboration of concrete agreements that would rule out any further eastward expansion of NATO and the deployment of weapons systems posing a threat to us in close proximity to Russia’s territory. We suggest that substantive talks on this topic should be started.
I would like to note in particular that we need precisely legal, juridical guarantees, because our Western colleagues have failed to deliver on verbal commitments they made. Specifically, everyone is aware of the assurances they gave verbally that NATO would not expand to the east. But they did absolutely the opposite in reality. In effect, Russia’s legitimate security concerns were ignored and they continue to be ignored in the same manner even now.
We are not demanding any special terms for ourselves. We understand that any agreements must take into account the interests of both Russia and all other states in the Euro-Atlantic region. A calm and stable situation should be ensured for everyone and is needed by all without exception.

• Beim NATO-Außenministertreffen in Riga hielt US-Außenminister Antony Blinken dem entgegen, Russland bereite offensichtlich aggressive Aktionen gegen die Ukraine vor – und die NATO sei bereit, Russland das teuer bezahlen zu lassen. Das Bündnis werde wenn nötig seine Ostflanke militärisch verstärken. Aus der Pressekonferenz Blinkens nach dem Treffen:

We’re deeply concerned by evidence that Russia has made plans for significant aggressive moves against Ukraine. The plans include efforts to destabilize Ukraine from within, as well as large scale military operations.
Now, we’ve seen this playbook before, in 2014 when Russia last invaded Ukraine. Then, as now, they significantly increased combat forces near the border. Then, as now, they intensified disinformation to paint Ukraine as the aggressor to justify pre-planned military action. We’ve seen that tactic again in just the past 24 hours.
And in recent weeks, we’ve also observed a massive spike – more than tenfold – in social media activity pushing anti-Ukrainian propaganda, approaching levels last seen in the leadup to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2014.
Now, we don’t know whether President Putin has made the decision to invade. We do know that he is putting in place the capacity to do so on short order should he so decide. So despite uncertainty about intentions and timing, we must prepare for all contingencies while working to see to it that Russia reverses course.
The United States has been engaging intensively with allies and partners on this issue, and directly with President Putin. President Biden convened the leaders of the United Kingdom, France, and Germany on the situation in Ukraine at the G20 meeting in Rome a few weeks ago. Then, at the President’s direction, CIA Director Burns traveled to Moscow to convey our concerns, our commitment to a diplomatic process, and the severe consequences should Russia follow the path of confrontation and military action. We’ve made it clear to the Kremlin that we will respond resolutely, including with a range of high-impact economic measures that we’ve refrained from using in the past.
Following my own meetings with President Zelenskyy and Foreign Minister Kuleba last month, other senior State Department officials have been enegaging with Ukrainian partners, with NATO Allies, and with the Russians. And I came here to Riga to consult and coordinate with our Allies, and it is evident they are as resolute as we are. I heard that loud and clear in our discussions yesterday and today from virtually all NATO members, and in direct consultations with France, Germany, and the United Kingdom.
We are prepared to impose severe costs for further Russian aggression in Ukraine. NATO is prepared to reinforce its defenses on the eastern flank.

• Ähnlich äußerte sich in der lettischen Hauptstadt NATO-Generalsekretär Jens Stoltenberg:

So what we see is a significant Russian build-up, an unusual concentration of forces in and around Ukraine by Russia. We see heightened rhetoric. But of course, there’s no certainty about the intentions. But what we do know is that not only has Russia increased its military presence close to Ukraine’s borders, but we also know that they have used military force against Ukraine before. They did that in 2014, when they invaded and illegally annexed Crimea, which is part of Ukraine. And they continue to support the armed separatists in Donbas in eastern Ukraine. So . . . so, we can hope for the best and call on Russia to not once again use military force against a sovereign independent nation, Ukraine. But we need to be prepared for the worst, and that’s exactly what we are in NATO. (…)
NATO is providing support to Ukraine, political support for their territorial integrity and sovereignty, but also practical support with capacity-building – NATO Allies provide training; NATO, for instance, help them with . . . the reason they visited the Naval Academy in Odessa where we have NATO trainers helping them where they build their maritime forces; some NATO Allies provide also equipment and so on. So NATO and NATO Allies provide substantial support to Ukraine, because they have requested support and we are ready to provide them support. Then we also made it very clear that, first of all, this is a Russian military build-up, which is unexplained and unjustified. Therefore, we call on Russia to be transparent, to reduce tensions and to de-escalate. If they do the opposite and actually decide to, once again, use force against Ukraine then we have made it clear and ministers made that clear during the NATO foreign ministerial meeting in Latvia today, that Russia will then have to pay a high price. There will be serious consequences for Russia and that’s a clear message from NATO.

• Unterdessen begannen die russischen Streitkräfte ihre routinemäßige Winterausbildung unter feldmäßigen Bedingungen – im Südwesten des Landes mit rund 10.000 Soldaten, wie das russische Verteidigungsministerium mitteilte:

Mehr als 10.000 Soldaten der taktischen Bataillonsgruppen (BTGr) der motorisierten Schützenverbände des Südlichen Militärbezirks (SVD) sind in die Gebiete der kombinierten Waffenübungsplätze marschiert.
Etwa ein Drittel der Einheiten aller Verbände und militärischen Einheiten des südlichen Militärbezirks wird die Winterausbildung des neuen akademischen Jahres unter Feldbedingungen beginnen. Die Gefechtsbereitschaft von Trupps, Kampfgruppen und Mannschaften wurde im Rahmen des ersten Ausbildungsmoduls auf mehr als 30 Übungsplätzen für kombinierte Waffen organisiert. Gleichzeitig wurden autonome APL-500-Feldlager auf den wichtigsten Übungsplätzen eingerichtet, um das Personal unterzubringen, darunter Prudboy in der Region Wolgograd, Ashuluk in der Region Astrachan, Tarskoje in Nordossetien, Nikolo-Alexandrovsky in Stavropol, Kadamovsky und Kuzminsky in der Region Rostov und Opuk auf der Krim. Auch auf dem neuen Übungsplatz Nesterovsky in Inguschetien und auf dem Übungsplatz Danilovsky in der Region Wolgograd wurden erstmals Trainingseinheiten durchgeführt.
(Übersetzt mit