Former Prime Minister of Denmark and ex-Secretary General of NATO Anders Fogh Rasmussen, has warned of a planned Russian “invasion” of Ukraine amid rising tensions.
The former NATO boss, who led the alliance from 2009 to 2014, assessed the US intelligence, according to which a Russian “invasion” could take place as early as the beginning of 2022 and include up to 175,000 soldiers, as “reliable”.
“So there are completely concrete plans, but we do not know if Putin will realise them”, Anders Fogh Rasmussen told Denmark’s TV2.
“Now the Americans and the EU fully agree that there will be very strong sanctions against Russia if Putin enters Ukraine. So the price could be too high for Putin, both internally and externally”, Fogh Rasmussen mused.
Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin himself has made it perfectly clear that Ukrainian membership in NATO and an expansion of the alliance further to the east is a “red line” that Russia cannot accept. He repeated this most recently at a press conference last week.
Russia has repeatedly rejected Western accusations of mounting aggression and speculations of a possible “invasion”, stating that it does not threaten anyone and does not intend to attack anyone, venturing that the rhetoric about a “Russian threat” is being used as a pretext to deploy more NATO military gear near Russia’s borders.
While Kiev and the West have expressed concern over Russia’s troop movements near the borders of Ukraine, the Russian president’s press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, said that Moscow is moving troops within its own territory and at its own discretion.
Conversely, Russia claims that Ukraine has gathered more than 120,000 troops near the conflict zone in Donbass, while accusing the US and the West of helping to destabilise the situation.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry previously called the West’s statements about “Russian aggression” and the opportunity to help Kiev defend itself both ridiculous and dangerous.