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Ukraine Remains at the Center of U.S.-Russia Tensions

July 22, 2021 (EIRNS)—The Russian Foreign Ministry issued a very strong official statement yesterday on U.S.-Russian tensions, in the aftermath of the discussions between President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Washington, and the official U.S. statements on Nord Stream 2, which threaten further sanctions against Russia. These issues were discussed in a phone call yesterday between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Merkel. At the same time, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who will be meeting with Biden on Aug. 30, said that the issue of Nord Stream 2 will be at the center of their talks and that he will continue to press for Ukrainian membership in NATO. The formal signing into law yesterday of Ukraine’s “On the Indigenous Peoples of Ukraine” is also contributing to heating things up.

The Russian Foreign Ministry’s board met on July 21, led by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, and adopted a strongly-worded statement on U.S.-Russian relations:

“It was noted during the discussion that bilateral relations had approached a dangerous confrontational threshold through the fault of Washington, who have provoked an unprecedented escalation between our states over the recent years.... This line by Washington, which blatantly violates international law, will continue to come up against unwavering opposition as far as protecting Russia’s legitimate interests goes,”

the ministry said. The board meeting also emphasized that the Putin-Biden summit in Geneva on June 16 created opportunities for restoring a constructive dialogue on strategic stability, but, “Naturally, such cooperation could only be successful under the condition of adherence to principles of mutual respect, equality, and non-interference in internal affairs.”

Ukrainian President  Zelensky signed the indigenous peoples law yesterday, which denies this status to ethnic Russians. Zelensky’s press service announced yesterday: “The document is aimed at maximum protection of cultural, informational and other rights of indigenous peoples.” Putin has characterized the law as de facto ethnic cleansing, like that which the Nazis carried out.

Zelensky’s office further announced “possible” agenda items for his Aug. 30 meeting with President Biden, which will include:

“First and foremost, the security issues, such as countering the continued aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine, deterioration of the situation in the Black Sea region and in the Donbas, de-occupation of Crimea, strengthening energy security of our country and Europe as a whole, military and defense cooperation between Ukraine and the United States. The talks regarding the Nord Stream 2 project as a security threat for Ukraine and the region will be continued,”

the statement posted on the website of the President’s office said.

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