WASHINGTON, December 8. /TASS/. The US administration is communicating with Russia at all levels to persuade it to settle problems with Ukraine and other countries by diplomatic means, US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland said.
"We are engaging Russia at all levels to urge Moscow to pull back, and settle any concerns with Ukraine or with the Trans-Atlantic community through diplomacy," the US diplomat said in her opening statement during hearings at the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.
She said the US and its allies call upon Russia to start de-escalation, pull back troops from the Russian-Ukrainian border and return to negotiations.
"In countless bilateral meetings at all levels, we are working with Allies and partners to send a united message: Russia must deescalate, pull back its forces and return to negotiations. But if Russia attacks Ukraine, we will be united in imposing severe consequences on Moscow for its actions, including high-impact economic measures we have refrained from using in the past. At NATO, SACEUR and national military authorities are also preparing advice on necessary steps to improve resilience and harden defenses in Allied territory," Nuland continued.
There has been a flurry of statements in the West and Kiev lately that Russia could invade Ukraine. Peskov said they were unsubstantiated escalation and that Russia doesn’t threaten anyone. At the same time, he didn’t rule out provocations to corroborate these Western statements and warned that the use of force to resolve the crisis in southeastern Ukraine will have serious consequences.
The Kremlin spokesman also assured that Russia was making every effort to help Ukraine resolve the conflict in Donbass in line with the Normandy format and the Minsk agreements.