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Kremlin Mulls Response as NATO Enables Ukraine’s Terrorism Against Russian Civilians

© Sputnik / Anton Vergun / Go to the mediabankAftermath of Ukrainian shelling of Belgorod city center
Aftermath of Ukrainian shelling of Belgorod city center - Sputnik International, 1920, 04.06.2024
As Moscow pursues restraint in its military operation in Ukraine an extremist Kiev regime is resorting to attacks against noncombatants – an inconvenient reality ignored by Western media.
“NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Friday shrugged off warnings from Russian President Vladimir Putin against NATO countries allowing Ukraine to strike Russian territory with Western weapons,” reported the website Antiwar.com Monday.
“Stoltenberg’s comments came after the US and several other NATO countries gave Ukraine the greenlight to strike Russian territory near [Kharkov],” according to the online outlet. “The step marks a significant escalation in the proxy war and could provoke a major response from Russia despite Stoltenberg downplaying the risks.”
The provocation has prompted President Vladimir Putin to warn of “serious consequences” for NATO countries that permit their armaments to be used to strike within Russia. Kiev has increasingly resorted to terrorist attacks in residential areas and against Russian civilians as the chances of Ukrainian victory on the battlefield grow ever more remote. Shelling of a town in Russia’s Belgorod region over the weekend left six people injured, with a local official tragically dying as a result of detonation of ammunition during the attack.
A shopping mall damaged by Ukrainian missiles in Russia's Belgorod - Sputnik International, 1920, 02.06.2024
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Security analyst Mark Sleboda joined Sputnik’s The Critical Hour program Monday to examine the Russian president’s options amid another Western escalation of the proxy conflict.
“First of all, a statement about anyone invading anyone else coming from the secretary general of NATO and some type of admonition is pretty rich,” said the international relations expert. “Last time I checked, Stoltenberg's been in that office quite a long time and NATO and its member states have been involved in the invasions, regime changes, and occupations of more countries in the last 30 years that can easily be mentioned.”
The military pact, which frequently characterizes itself as a defensive alliance, has played key roles in Western operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and the former Yugoslavia. US-led military intervention in the Middle East has indirectly led to the death of at least 4.5 million people, according to a study by researchers at Brown University, while residents of Serbia continue to face elevated rates of cancer and birth defects after NATO’s use of radioactive depleted uranium there.
The end of the Cold War brought about the dissolution of the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact, but NATO leaders resisted calls to disband the alliance. The military coalition, which was formed with the explicit aim of opposing Moscow, has continued to expand eastward, threatening to establish itself along Ukraine’s almost 1,500-mile border with Russia with the alliance’s proposed inclusion of Kiev.
Sleboda noted that “NATO mercenaries” have covertly trained Ukrainian fighters in special operations centers throughout the country, but so far such efforts have achieved little.
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“So this game that NATO and its member states can punch Russia through the sock puppet of their proxy putsch regime in Kiev, in Ukraine, continues,” he observed. “And Stoltenberg does not fear Russian threats – that's a problem.”
“Russia is not clearly setting red lines and then dictating consequences and carrying through with them on NATO countries,” the expert argued. “Now, they may not feel that they have had to thus far in this conflict because they are winning on the battlefield… They just keep on carrying on what they're doing and winning the battle on the battlefield in Ukraine, and don't wish to potentially escalate this directly against NATO in a way that could spin out of their and anyone's control.”
“But here's the problem, it's that this type of response does create an Overton window where NATO now feels complete impunity with escalations.”
Sleboda pointed out that Russia has enjoyed considerable success in disabling NATO weaponry via electronic warfare, even earning plaudits in Western media for its technological supremacy in that area. But going forward, the analyst said Russia would need to consider how to effectively deter Ukrainian aggression, balancing the desire to respond proportionally with the need to create deterrence.
“This escalation right now is so pathetic that it doesn't necessarily necessitate a response,” he claimed, noting that the Biden administration has only publicly condoned Ukrainian strikes against military targets in Kharkov’s border region. “But what is already signaled is the next provocation level. That one is far more serious.”
“So do you make a deterrence now? Or, do you wait until that provocation happens?” Sleboda asked, summarizing Russia’s current options. “That's the dilemma that the Kremlin finds itself in now. Do we demonstrate a deterrence now with a response? Or, do we wait for the next one that could actually do some significant harm? Although it certainly won't result in a change in the endgame of this conflict.”
A trophy Abrams tank captured by Russian troops during the special military operation, exhibited at Moscow's Victory Park on Poklonnaya Hill. - Sputnik International, 1920, 16.05.2024
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