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Rouble weakens as US intel shows plans for potential Ukraine invasion

By Alexander Bueso

Date: Monday 22 Nov 2021

Rouble weakens as US intel shows plans for potential Ukraine invasion

(Sharecast News) - The rouble was under pressure again at the start of the week following reports detailing Russian troop and artillery movements which some fear could presage a large-scale push into Ukraine.
According to Bloomberg, which cited people familiar with the conversations, Washington had "conveyed" that intelligence to some NATO members with the US having assessed that Moscow might be weighing an invasion in early 2022.

Nonetheless, neither Washington nor others were saying that a war was certain nor even that they knew for sure that Putin was serious about one, the newswire added.

Concern was already running high with France having warned Russia on 12 November, on the back of that intelligence, against harming Ukraine's territorial integrity.

The desire on the part of some NATO members to expand the defensive alliance to include Ukraine had been a sore point in relations with Moscow since at least the mid-1990s.

On 18 November, in his annual address to the Russian Foreign Ministry's board, Russian President, Vladimir Putin, instructed his country's diplomats to maintain tensions with the West.

"Our recent warnings have had a certain effect: tensions have arisen there anyway [...] it is important for them to remain in this state for as long as possible, so that it does not occur to them to stage some kind of conflict on our western borders," Putin said, the Russia Matters website reported, citing a translation of Putin's speech on Kremlin.ru.

Putin also said the West had been "escalating" the conflict in Ukraine by holding naval exercises in the Black Sea and flying bombers near its borders.

Yet the Russian President denied any hostile intent on the part of Russia.

According to Putin, Russia had been "constantly raising concerns about this" but "all our warnings and talk about red lines are treated superficially," The Moscow Times and AFP reported.

Putin has also denounced the use of Turkish-made drones in the conflict zone in southeastern Ukraine, arguing that they were in violation of the Minsk accords, while Kiev has said that they were only used defensively.

The latest news came amid preparations for a virtual meeting between Putin and US President Joe Biden which the Secretary of Russia's Security Council, Nikolai Patrushev, said might take place this same year.

Russian daily Kommersant had previously reported that a virtual meeting might occur in 2021 and that another, in person, might happen in early 2022.

Also according to Bloomberg, Washington and its European allies were discussing potential responses should the Russian President decide on taking military action against Ukraine.





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