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Ukraine's allies are warning Russia against new military escalation, Kyiv says

Speaking on his return from a trip to Washington, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba accused Russia of waging a “hybrid war” on Europe.
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Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Ukraine's foreign minister at a news conference following this week's U.S.-Ukraine Strategic Dialogue talks.Leah Millis / AP

Ukraine and its Western allies have stepped up diplomatic efforts to warn Russia against launching a new military attack on Ukraine by spelling out the consequences of doing so, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Friday.

Speaking on his return from a trip to Washington, Kuleba accused Russia of waging a “hybrid war” on Europe and said Moscow’s fingerprints were also on a migrant crisis unfolding on the border of the European Union and Russia’s ally Belarus.

Kuleba held a briefing after the United States and its European allies raised concern over the movement of Russian troops and hardware near Ukraine’s borders in recent weeks, following an earlier troop build-up in spring.

Russia has dismissed worries about its military activities as inflammatory and instead blamed Ukraine and the United States for destabilizing behavior.

Recent satellite imagery shows self propelled artillery and other equipment amid the presence of a large ground forces deployment on the northern edge of the town of Yelnya, Smolensk Oblast, Russia on Nov. 1, 2021.AFP - Getty Images

Kuleba also said Ukrainian companies had signed deals to supply engines for Turkish-made drones as part of Kyiv’s efforts to strengthen its own defensive capabilities.

“Over the past couple of weeks, there has been a lot of diplomacy, including shuttle diplomacy between Kyiv, Washington, key European capitals and Moscow,” Kuleba said.

“This is a political track in which certain positions are communicated with Russia and the consequences for Russia are discussed if it resorts to a new wave of aggression against our state.”

Kuleba said he would meet NATO and European Union officials on a trip to Brussels on Monday.

Relations between the West and Moscow plunged to post Cold War lows after Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the outbreak of war between Ukrainian troops and Russian-backed forces that Kyiv says has killed 14,000 people.

Ukraine has acquired sophisticated Turkish drones and last month deployed them for the first time in the conflict in eastern Ukraine, angering Russia.

Meanwhile the E.U. accuses Belarus of engineering a crisis on its border by encouraging thousands of migrants from war-torn areas to cross into E.U. countries via Belarus. Belarus denies doing so and Russia has also denied playing any role.

“Let’s agree that there is now no migration crisis in Belarus — there is a hybrid war between Russia and Europe,” Kuleba said.

“Moscow’s desire is to create problems and force the rest of the world to solve them.”