“We remain, of course, open to and desirous of diplomacy ... but we are also committed, if Russia takes aggressive action, to ensure there will be severe consequence,” Kamala Harris said at the annual Munich Security Conference.
Spiking tensions in eastern Ukraine on Friday aggravated Western fears of a Russian invasion and a new war on the edge of Europe, with a humanitarian convoy hit by shelling and pro-Russian rebels ordering the evacuation of civilians from the conflict zone, AP reports.
The Kremlin declared massive nuclear drills to flex its military muscle, and President Vladimir Putin pledged to protect Russia’s national interests against what it sees as encroaching Western threats. U.S. and European leaders, meanwhile, grasped for ways to keep the peace and Europe’s post-Cold War security order.
While Putin held out the possibility of diplomacy, a cascade of developments this week have have further exacerbated East-West tensions and fueled war worries. This week’s actions have fed those concerns: U.S. and European officials, focused on an estimated 150,000 Russian troops posted around Ukraine’s borders, warn the long-simmering separatist conflict in eastern Ukraine could provide the spark for a broader attack.
“We remain, of course, open to and desirous of diplomacy … but we are also committed, if Russia takes aggressive action, to ensure there will be severe consequence,” Harris said at the annual Munich Security Conference.
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