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MOSCOW (AP) — Russia on Thursday sharply raised the stakes in its dispute with the West over Ukraine, with a prime diplomat refusing to rule out a Russian army deployment to Cuba and Venezuela if tensions with america mount.

Deputy Overseas Minister Sergei Ryabkov, who led the Russian delegation in Monday’s talks with the U.S. in Geneva, mentioned in televised remarks that he would “neither verify nor exclude” the likelihood that Russia might ship army property to Cuba and Venezuela if the talks fail and U.S. stress on Russia mounts.

The negotiations in Geneva and Wednesday’s NATO-Russia assembly in Vienna didn’t slim the hole on Moscow’s safety calls for amid a buildup of Russian troops close to Ukraine. Whereas Moscow demanded a halt to NATO growth, Washington and its allies firmly rejected that as a nonstarter.

Talking in an interview with Russian RTVI TV, Ryabkov famous that “all of it is determined by the motion by our U.S. counterparts,” pointing to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s warning that Moscow might take military-technical measures if the U.S. provokes the Kremlin and turns up army stress on it.

Whereas voicing concern that NATO might doubtlessly use Ukrainian territory for the deployment of missiles able to reaching Moscow in simply 5 minutes, Putin famous that Russian warships armed with the newest Zircon hypersonic cruise missile would give Russia an identical functionality if deployed in impartial waters.

Ryabkov’s assertion adopted his feedback final month by which he in contrast the present tensions over Ukraine with the 1962 Cuban Missile Disaster.

That disaster erupted when the Soviet Union deployed missiles to Cuba and the U.S. imposed a naval blockade of the island. U.S. President John F. Kennedy and Soviet chief Nikita Khrushchev agreed to defuse tensions by making a deal for Moscow to withdraw its missiles in trade for Washington’s pledge to not invade Cuba and the elimination of U.S. missiles from Turkey.

Ryabkov mentioned a refusal by the U.S. and its allies to think about the important thing Russian demand for ensures towards the alliance’s growth to Ukraine and different ex-Soviet nations makes it exhausting to debate such points as arms management and confidence-building steps that Washington says it’s prepared to barter.

“The U.S. desires to conduct a dialogue on some components of the safety scenario ,,, to ease the tensions after which proceed the method of geopolitical and army growth of the brand new territories, coming nearer to Moscow,” he mentioned. “We’ve got nowhere to retreat.”

Ryabkov’s feedback mark the primary time through the present tensions over Ukraine when a senior official talked about the potential of Russian army deployments to the Western hemisphere.

In December 2018, Russia briefly despatched a pair of its nuclear-capable Tu-160 bombers to Venezuela in a present of help for Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro amid Western stress.

Quickly after his first election in 2000, Putin ordered the closure of a Russian digital surveillance facility in Cuba throughout a interval of rapprochement with the West, however Moscow has intensified contacts with Cuba in recent times as tensions with the U.S. and its allies mounted.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov famous “some constructive components and nuances” through the talks, however described them as “unsuccessful” due to stark disagreements on Russia’s key calls for.

“The talks have been initiated to obtain particular solutions to concrete principal points that have been raised, and disagreements remained on these principal points, which is unhealthy,” he mentioned in a convention name with reporters.

Peskov warned of a whole rupture in U.S.-Russian relations if proposed sanctions focusing on Putin and different prime civilian and army leaders are adopted. The measures, proposed by Senate Democrats, would additionally goal main main Russian monetary establishments if Moscow sends troops into Ukraine.

Peskov criticized the proposals as an try to up the stress on Moscow through the talks, saying it would not work.

“It considerations sanctions, which making an allowance for the inevitable satisfactory response, successfully quantity to an initiative to rupture relations,” he warned, including that Russian will reply in type to guard its pursuits.

The talks come as an estimated 100,000 combat-ready Russian troops, tanks and heavy army gear are massed close to Ukraine’s jap border. The buildup has precipitated deep considerations in Kyiv and the West that Moscow is getting ready for an invasion. Russia denies that and in flip accuses the West of threatening its safety by positioning army personnel and gear in Central and Jap Europe.

Peskov rebuffed the West’s requires Russia to assist de-escalate tensions by pulling again troops from areas close to Ukraine, noting that the nation is free to maneuver them wherever it desires by itself territory.

“It is hardly potential for NATO to dictate to us the place we should always transfer our armed forces on Russian territory,” he mentioned.

Peskov underscored that Russia is able to proceed the talks however desires them to provide outcomes. “There shall be no deficit of a political will to proceed the negotiations,” he mentioned.

Tensions revolving round Ukraine and Russia’s calls for on the West once more appeared on the desk at Thursday’s assembly of the Group for Safety and Cooperation in Vienna.

Polish Overseas Minister Zbigniew Rau, who assumed the place of the OSCE Chairman-in-Workplace, famous in his opening speech that “the danger of warfare within the OSCE space is now higher than ever earlier than within the final 30 years.”

“For a number of weeks, now we have been confronted with the potential of a significant army escalation in Jap Europe,” he mentioned.

In 2014, Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula after the ouster of its Moscow-friendly chief and threw its weight behind a separatist insurgency within the nation’s east, the place over 14,000 individuals have been killed in additional than seven years of combating.

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Emily Schultheis reported from Vienna.

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