Amid stalled talks between the U.S. and Russia over Ukraine, a top Russian official on Thursday would not rule Moscow dispatching military deployment to Venezuela and Cuba.
When questioned about Russia’s position in instituting military occupancy, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said he would not “confirm anything, [but] won’t exclude anything here either.”
“It depends on the actions of American colleagues,” Ryabkov told Russian television channel RTVI.
Diplomatic talks Monday in Geneva between the U.S. and Russia were unsuccessful in meeting Moscow’s security requirements, as Russian troops continue to expand near Ukraine. Russia is holding the West responsible for intimidating its security by deploying military hardware in Eastern and Central Europe.
“I’m not going to respond to bluster in the public commentary that wasn’t raised in the discussions at the Strategic Stability Dialogue [in Geneva],” White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said in response to Ryabkov’s comments.
Russia has long had strong diplomatic ties with Cuba since the Cold War. The distance from Cuba and the U.S. mainland is 103 miles. In recent years, Venezuela has become an ideological battleground for Russia and China, as the U.S., the U.K., and other Western powers have not backed embattled President Nicolas Maduro.
A military buildup would be considered a threat to the U.S. “If Russia were to move in that direction, we would deal with it decisively,” Sullivan said.
The Kremlin views Ukraine as a prospective security threat as recent elections gave birth to new leadership that cut off an extensive bond with Russia, altering the country’s confederation to the West.
There are about 100,000 Russian troops near the Ukraine border. Moscow has claimed the troops are performing military exercises.
The Biden administration has previously threatened sanctions if Russia were to attack Ukraine.
“The jury’s out on which path Vladimir Putin is going to choose,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told MSNBC. “Is he going to choose the path of diplomacy and dialogue to resolve some of these problems or is he going to pursue confrontation and aggression?”