NATO chief worried about Europe’s energy situation

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Europe needs to diversify its energy supply, NATO chief said on Sunday, while Britain warned that it was “very likely” that Russia, the continent’s largest natural gas supplier, would try to invade Ukraine. according to Reuters.

Russia has gathered about 120,000 troops on the border with Ukraine and called on NATO to withdraw troops and weapons from Eastern Europe and prevent Ukraine, a former Soviet state, from ever joining the Alliance.

U.S. officials said Saturday that Russia’s military base had been expanded to include supplies to treat victims of any conflict. Across the border in Ukraine, locals have been training as army reservists, while the government is speeding up training.

Moscow denies any plans to invade it, but said on Sunday it would ask NATO to clarify whether it intends to implement key security commitments, after earlier saying the alliance’s response to its demands had not gone far enough.

“If he does not intend to do so, then he should explain why,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told state television. “This will be a key question in determining our future proposals.”

In a sign of tension, Canada said on Sunday it was temporarily withdrawing non-essential staff from its Ukrainian embassy, ​​but added that the embassy would remain open.

The United States, which has threatened Russia with new major sanctions if it invades Ukraine, has said it expects answers from Moscow. According to NATO’s position, the Alliance will not withdraw from Eastern Europe or prevent Ukraine from joining NATO, but is ready to discuss issues such as arms control and confidence-building measures.

US senators are very close to reaching an agreement on sanctions legislation, the two leading lawmakers working on the bill said on Sunday. The measures include targeting Russia’s major Russian banks and sovereign debt, as well as providing stronger assistance to Ukraine, including by providing lethal weapons.

Some of the sanctions in the bill could take effect before any new invasion, because of what Russia has already done, said U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and James Risch, the principal. Republican of the commission. Menendez highlighted cyber attacks on Ukraine, “false flag” operations and efforts to undermine the Ukrainian government internally.

Washington has spent weeks trying to reach an agreement with European partners on a package of strong sanctions, but the issue continues to diverge, with Germany urging “caution”.

The European Union depends on Russia for about a third of its gas supply, and any disruption would exacerbate the existing energy crisis.

“We are concerned about the energy situation in Europe because it demonstrates the vulnerability of being too dependent on a single natural gas supplier and that is why NATO allies agree that we need to work and focus on diversifying supply,” he said. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

Britain said on Sunday it would extend the scope of possible sanctions in this week’s legislation to discourage Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“We think it is very likely that he will try to invade Ukraine. That is why we are doing everything we can through deterrence and diplomacy, to urge him to give up, “Foreign Secretary Liz Truss told BBC Television.

Truss, who is due to visit both Ukraine and Russia in the next two weeks, told Sky News that the legislation would allow Britain to reach a much wider range of targets “so that no one would believe it would be immune to these sanctions ”.

Asked if the new measures could include the ability to seize London property, Truss said: “Nothing is ruled out.”

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is due to speak with Putin on the phone next week. Intensifying his diplomatic efforts, after facing criticism for not doing enough, he said he had ordered the army to prepare to help strengthen Europe’s borders.

Stoltenberg said NATO did not intend to deploy combat troops to a non-NATO member of Ukraine in the event of a Russian invasion, adding that “we are focusing on providing support.”