Express Web Review – A Few Highlights For The Week Of April 5th, 2021 (2 of 2)

II. Russia Pushing

Calling NATO For Help, Bloomberg News, 7 Apr. 2021


Russia announced the start of mass military drills, ratcheting up tensions with neighboring Ukraine amid Western concerns about the risk of renewed fighting. More than 4,000 training exercises will be held in military districts across Russia in April, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Tuesday, in comments posted on the ministry’s website. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Tuesday reiterated his country’s desire to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to protect itself against Russia, calling membership “the only way to end the war” in eastern Ukraine in a phone call with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. The NATO chief was non-committal in a tweet later, saying the alliance remained “committed to our close partnership” with Ukraine.


Russia’s Warning, DW, 2 Apr. 2021


“Russia on Friday warned NATO against sending troops to eastern Ukraine after Kyiv accused Moscow of building a military presence on its border. The Interfax news agency cited Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying that any deployment of NATO troops would “undoubtedly lead to further tensions” and that the Russian side would then “have to take additional measures to ensure their security,” without giving specifics. Peskov played down Russian troop movements near the joint border, saying that “Russia is not threatening anyone.”


Ukraine: Biden’s Big Test, FOREIGN POLICY,  2 Apr. 2021

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“Russia is massing an unusual number of troops on the border with Ukraine, posing an early test for the Biden administration as it looks to repair relations with NATO allies and distinguish itself from former U.S. President Donald Trump’s controversial approach to relations with Moscow. The buildup of forces on the Ukrainian border, along with hundreds of cease-fire violations in Ukraine’s eastern territories controlled by Russia-backed separatists, has alarmed NATO and sparked a flurry of phone calls between senior members of the Biden administration and their Ukrainian and Russian counterparts. “They’re probing, they’re trying to see what we’re going to do, what NATO would do, what the Ukrainians would do,” said Jim Townsend, a former U.S. deputy assistant secretary of defense for Europe and NATO until 2017. “Is this a jumpy administration, or is this an administration that’s going to act with resolve? They’re doing all of these things to assess where the new administration is.”

Photo © Russian servicemen take part in military exercises in the Astrakhan region of Southern Russia in 2020,  Dimitar Dilkoff, AFP, Getty Images, as published in Bloomberg News (