NATO warns Russian military buildup in Belarus is largest in 30 years


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NATO warns Russian military buildup in Belarus is largest in 30 years
Over 100,000 troops are now stationed near Ukraine’s borders, raising concerns Moscow may invade again; Ukrainian President Zelensky hosts Turkish counterpart Erdogan
By LORNE COOK and Suzan Fraser
3 February 2022

BRUSSELS (AP) — NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg expressed concern Thursday that Russia is continuing its military buildup around Ukraine, and that it has now deployed more troops and military equipment to Belarus than at any time in 30 years. Meanwhile, more high-level diplomacy unfolded in Moscow and Kyiv amid deep uncertainty about Russia’s intentions. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky hosted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for talks in the Ukrainian capital. Russian President Vladimir Putin was to meet with his Argentine counterpart, Alberto Fernandez, in Moscow.

Russia now has more than 100,000 troops stationed near Ukraine’s northern and eastern borders, raising concern that Moscow might invade again, as it did in 2014, and destabilize the Ukrainian economy. Russian officials deny that an invasion is planned.

“Over the last days, we have seen a significant movement of Russian military forces into Belarus. This is the biggest Russian deployment there since the Cold War,” Stoltenberg told reporters at NATO headquarters in Brussels. He said Russian troop numbers in Belarus are likely to climb to 30,000, with the backing of special forces, advanced fighter jets, Iskander short-range ballistic missiles, and S-400 ground-to-air missile defense systems.


Ghoti Ichthus

Pray so they do not serve alone. Ephesians 6:10-20
Here, there are large Ukranian and Russian communities:

Ukrainian-Minnesotans Watch From Afar As Tensions Rise Back Home​

"MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Many Minnesotans are watching closely what the United States decides to do as tensions rise between Russia and Ukraine. There are an estimated 10,000 to 20,000 Minnesotans that have ties to Ukraine."

"Russia has built up troops along Ukraine’s border of Ukraine in the recent past, but Stefan Iwaskewycz, a Ukrainian-American in Minneapolis, says this time feels different.
“What’s happening now that is alarming … is that it seems like Russia’s also putting into place other ancillary necessities if you were actually going to invade,” Iwaskewycz said.
He has family in Ukraine, and he’s lived there. The question of whether Russia will invade is an urgent one at the Ukrainian American Community Center in northeast Minneapolis, where Iwaskewycz spends time.
“When it’s a question of protecting democratic and human rights in another country, well, if it’s happening in Ukraine then it has special meaning to me,” he said. “Ukrainians have been struggling for their independence and right to exist as a people and as a nation for centuries.”
Secretary of State Tony Blinken says Russian President Vladimir Putin doesn’t believe Ukraine has a right to exist as a country."

Minnesota’s Ukrainian Americans watch with concern as Russian forces amass on borders abroad​

""It’s definitely a scary situation,” says Oleksandr Komarenko, who moved to Minnesota from Kyiv, Ukraine in 1997. “People are very concerned. This is probably the largest, the greatest buildup of the Russian military on our borders pretty much since the beginning of our history of the Ukrainian independence.”
“No one I speak with has a clear sense of what is intended,” declares Stefan Iwaskewycz, a former board member of the Ukrainian Center in Northeast Minneapolis.
Born in the U.S., he’s concerned about relatives living in Ukraine.
“Amongst the family and friends that I’m close to, we’re constantly talking about it,” Iwaskewycz notes. “Whether anyone would actually take up arms from my family, my cousins, or who might actually fight? I mean, war is war, right? Who knows what the scale of it is. Where the bombs might fall, or the shooting might happen.”"

:pray :pray :amen :amen :dance2 :dance2

Ghoti Ichthus

Pray so they do not serve alone. Ephesians 6:10-20
This article is from 2019, but a basic explanation of why Ukraine is important to the U.S.

What’s The History Behind U.S. Relations With Ukraine?​

"Ukraine is the second largest country in Europe, behind Russia. Its history dates back centuries, marked by war, famine, invasions and deportations.
“It’s suffered from bad governance and also by domination by Russia and divisions within the country,” says Mary Curtin, diplomat-in-residence at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs.
Ukraine was part of the former USSR, but it’s been independent of Russia since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. In 2014, Russia invaded Ukraine and annexed Crimea, a peninsula on the northern coast of the Black Sea. Since then, there’s been fighting in the eastern part of Ukraine.
“There’s been this undeclared war between Ukraine and Russia,” says Curtin.
The U.S. has been giving Ukraine financial assistance and military training for years. Curtin believes there are two main reasons Ukraine has been so closely connected with the U.S. The first has to do with geography. Ukraine is situated between the east and west, and the U.S. wants to support a strong democracy there.
“There’s this concept that if Russia can get away with what it’s done in Ukraine, then it poses a threat to our allies who are in NATO,” says Curtin."


7 Senators, Including Klobuchar, Travel To Ukraine​

January 17, 2022
— Seven U.S. senators are in Ukraine to meet with that country’s president and other officials.
The bipartisan delegation consists of four Democrats — Sens. Jeanne Shaheen, Chris Murphy, Amy Klobuchar and Richard Blumenthal — and three Republicans — Rob Portman, Kevin Cramer and Roger Wicker.
Members said they will meet with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Monday to reaffirm the U.S. commitment to Ukraine as it tries to solidify its democracy while facing an increasingly belligerent Russia."

Sen. Klobuchar Vows ‘Consequences’ If Putin Attacks Ukraine​

January 18, 2022
“One of the reasons we went was to send a clear message that if he does this there’s going to be consequences, and if he’s betting on the fact that Washington’s divided, that’s not gonna work,” Klobuchar said.
She is the co-author of legislation that would impose sanctions on President Putin, senior military officials and the Russian banking sector if Russia acts against Ukraine.

:pray :pray :amen :amen :dance2 :dance2