On Wednesday, Ukraine urged NATO to prepare economic penalties against Russia in order to discourage a hypothetical invasion by tens of thousands of Russian troops stationed near its border.
Dmytro Kuleba, Ukrainian Foreign Minister, said he will make the appeal to NATO foreign ministers, who are meeting in Latvia for the second day to consider how to respond to Russia’s build-up and avert what might be the most serious crisis in relations with Moscow since the Cold War.
As he arrived in Riga for the discussions, Kuleba told reporters, “We will call on the allies to help Ukraine in putting together a deterrence package.”
This should include planning economic penalties against Russia in the event that Moscow “decides to choose the worst-case scenario,” according to Kuleba, who also suggested that NATO strengthen military and defence cooperation with Ukraine.
Although Ukraine is not a member of NATO, the US-led alliance has stated that it is dedicated to protecting the former Soviet republic’s sovereignty. It has leaned toward the West since 2014 and hopes to join both NATO and the European Union.
This has incensed Russia, prompting President Vladimir Putin to issue a warning on Tuesday, stating that Russia was prepared with a newly tested hypersonic weapon in the event NATO breached its “red lines” and placed missiles in Ukraine.
Putin said on Wednesday that Moscow wants serious talks with the US and its allies to obtain legal guarantees that would prevent “any future NATO movements to the east” and the deployment of missile systems that endanger Russian territory.