A top Russian official refused to rule out sending military forces to Latin America amid rising tensions with the U.S. under the Biden administration.
“Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, who led the Russian delegation in Monday’s talks with the U.S. in Geneva, said in televised remarks that he would ‘neither confirm nor exclude’ the possibility that Russia could send military assets to Cuba and Venezuela if the talks fail and U.S. pressure on Russia mounts,” the Associated Press reported. “The negotiations in Geneva and Wednesday’s NATO-Russia meeting in Vienna failed to narrow the gap on Moscow’s security demands amid a buildup of Russian troops near Ukraine. While Moscow demanded a halt to NATO expansion, Washington and its allies firmly rejected that as a nonstarter.”
Ryabkov later said during an interview that it all depended on the actions that the Biden administration takes with respect to Ukraine as he accused the U.S. of failing to meet Russia’s demands.
“The U.S. wants to conduct a dialogue on some elements of the security situation … to ease the tensions and then continue the process of geopolitical and military development of the new territories, coming closer to Moscow,” he said. “We have nowhere to retreat.”
National security adviser Jake Sullivan addressed the remarks from the Russian official during Thursday’s White House press conference, claiming that the administration would act if Russia did anything.
“I’m not going to respond to bluster in the public commentary,” he said. “That wasn’t raised in the discussions at the Strategic Stability Dialogue. If Russia were to move in that direction, we would deal with it decisively.”
The Ukrainian government was hit with a cyberattack during the early morning hours on Friday, with a spokesperson for the Ukrainian government saying that while it was too early to draw conclusions, “there is a long record of Russian assaults against Ukraine.”
“As a result of a massive cyber attack, the websites of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a number of other government agencies are temporarily down,” the spokesman for the foreign ministry said. “Our specialists are already working on restoring the work of IT systems, and the cyber police opened an investigation.”
Democrat President Joe Biden said last month that he was working to find “any accommodations” that he could for Russia to avoid escalating tensions any further following his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“In the meeting with Putin, I was very straightforward. There were no minced words,” Biden claimed. “It was polite, but I made it very clear: If, in fact, he invades Ukraine, there will be severe consequences — severe consequences — and economic consequences like none he’s ever seen or ever have been seen, in terms of being imposed.”
“His immediate response was he understood that. And I indicated that I knew he would respond. But beyond that, if, in fact, we would probably also be required to reinforce our — our presence in NATO countries to reassure particularly those on the eastern front,” he added. “In addition to that, I made it clear that we would provide the defensive capability to the Ukrainians as well.”
“We hope by Friday we’re going to be able to say and announce to you that we’re having meetings at a higher level, not just with us but with at least four of our major NATO Allies and Russia to discuss the future of Russia’s concerns relative to NATO writ large and whether or not we can work out any accommodations as it relates to bringing down the temperature along the eastern front,” Biden said.