The warning came on the sidelines of a meeting of the Western military alliance on the possible purpose of a large Russian military gathering on the Ukrainian border, Reuters news agency reported.
In response, Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a counter-warning. Russia has said it will retaliate if US-led NATO launches a missile capable of hitting Ukraine in Moscow within minutes.
The former Soviet republic of Ukraine is now interested in joining the European Union and NATO; In recent years, Western relations with Russia over the neighboring country have reached their worst point since the end of the Cold War.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters that Russia would have to pay a high price for its use of force against Ukraine’s independence.
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken also spoke in the same tone.
“Any move by Russia to escalate tensions would be of great concern to the United States,” he said. And if a new aggression is launched, the consequences will be terrible. ”
The last few weeks have been full of tensions surrounding Ukraine. Russia, Ukraine and NATO have all held military exercises and have been blaming each other for the aggression.
Putin, in a tougher statement than ever before, referred to Moscow’s “red line” on Ukraine, saying that Russia would be forced to retaliate if NATO deployed sophisticated missile management on neighboring soil.
“It would take eight to 10 minutes for a missile to be flown to Moscow if the management was capable of carrying out an attack on Ukrainian territory, and five minutes if a hypersonic weapon was deployed. Just imagine.
“What do we do in such a situation? We have to take similar action against those who threaten us in this way. And we can do that now, “Putin said, referring to a recent test of a Russian hypersonic missile.
The Russian president said their hypersonic weapon was capable of flying at 9 times the speed of sound and hitting targets.
A two-day meeting of NATO foreign ministers began on Tuesday in the Latvian capital, Riga, over the growing threat posed by Russia. At the meeting, Blinken will brief 29 other members of the alliance on Russia’s actions and Washington’s intelligence assessment.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denis Smilel has accused Russia of trying to overthrow Kiev’s elected government. The Kremlin has denied the allegations.
Last week, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky also accused a coup attempt; Although a group of Russians and Ukrainians complained about this, he did not directly blame Moscow.
Smilehl said Ukraine could demand more weapons from the United States.
Putin has specifically warned of such a move in Kiev.
Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, and has been cooperating with rebels fighting government forces in the north of the country. The conflict in northern Ukraine has already killed at least 14,000 people, according to Kiev.
In May, Russia deployed about 100,000 troops on the Ukrainian border; Western officials say so many Russian troops have not been seen together on the Ukrainian border since the occupation of Crimea.
Ukraine says more than 90,000 Russian troops are still stationed near the border.
Ukraine sees the rally as a prelude to an attack; Moscow has blown up that idea. They say they do not threaten anyone and have the right to deploy troops whenever they want on their territory.
Germany and the United Kingdom, like NATO, have warned Russia against using force.
“We will stand by our democratic allies against Russia’s harmful activities,” said British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss.
“NATO’s support for Ukraine will continue,” said German Foreign Minister Heiko Moss. Russia has to pay a high price for any kind of aggression. “