The United States warned Russia on Tuesday of dire consequences if it attacked Ukraine, while President Vladimir Putin drew a red line for NATO's actions in his country's western neighbor.

At a press conference in the Latvian capital of Riga, before the start of a meeting of NATO foreign ministers, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken expressed Washington's deep concern about Russia's military moves on Ukraine's borders.

He added that any new aggression against Ukraine would have serious consequences, stressing that his country is closely watching the Russian moves, which he said are mostly coupled with attempts at home to destabilize a country.

The US Secretary renewed the commitment of the administration of President Joe Biden to its allies in NATO.

Blinken's comments came amid escalating tension between the West and Russia, in light of accusations of Russia mobilizing its forces to invade Ukraine, which Moscow denied.

In simultaneous statements, German Foreign Minister Maiko Haas said that the NATO ministerial meeting will send a clear message to the Russian government stressing NATO's support for Ukraine's sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.

Prior to the Riga meeting, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg stressed the importance of defending what he called "the alliance's values" to confront authoritarian regimes such as China and Russia, as he described it.

Stoltenberg called on NATO member states to continue their investments to enhance the alliance's defense capabilities, and stressed that the presence of NATO in eastern Europe and in both the Baltic Sea and the Black Sea is defensive and not to provoke anyone.

Photo of participants in the NATO ministerial meeting (Reuters)

ministerial meeting

NATO foreign ministers meet in Latvia with their counterparts from partner countries on the Russian military build-up near the Ukrainian border, and they also discuss the crisis of asylum seekers on the Polish border, as well as the issue of reconsidering the strategic goals of the alliance.

It is not expected that the NATO meeting in Latvia will result in an immediate action to confront the Russian moves unless the Russian forces make a new incursion into Ukrainian territory.

On Monday, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba called on his country's allies to speed up action to confront the Russian military build-up on the Ukrainian border, warning that Russia might launch an attack at any moment.

Kiev talks about the deployment of up to 115,000 Russian soldiers on its borders, reinforced by a large number of mechanisms, and Washington and other Western capitals confirm the presence of large Russian forces on the borders, but estimates vary as to whether this indicates an imminent military operation.

Moscow has denied having any intention of attacking Ukraine, describing reports of a possible attack as Western propaganda against it.

Putin said his country could not accept the creation of the US-Australian-British Okos alliance (Reuters)

Red line

In Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned today of the consequences of NATO's military presence on Russia's borders.

During a television interview, Putin said that the expansion of NATO infrastructure in Ukraine is a red line for Russia.

He added that Russia's development of hypersonic missiles was a response to NATO's actions near its borders.

In turn, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned Ukraine and NATO against embarking on what he described as a military adventure in eastern Ukraine.

Lavrov said - in press statements - that the movements of Kiev and the alliance near his country's borders pose a threat to Russia's security, and it will respond to it when necessary.

The Russian Foreign Ministry denounced NATO's actions against what it described as the imaginary danger posed by Russia.

The ministry said - in a statement - that NATO's focus on what it sees as a Russian threat gives the impression that there are no terrorist and security threats to the alliance in other regions.

The Russian Foreign Ministry stressed that what it called the uncontrolled expansion of the alliance and its annexation of more lands coincides with the deployment of its military structure, which it uses to reinforce its aggressive rhetoric, according to the same statement.

In 2014, the relationship of Russia and NATO deteriorated after Moscow annexed the Crimea, which was part of Ukraine, and the alliance accuses Russia of being behind the outbreak of the conflict in eastern Ukraine in the same year between Kiev and pro-Moscow separatists.

Russia accuses NATO of trying to encircle it militarily after the deployment of the US missile shield in eastern Europe in Poland and Romania, as well as the US deployment of medium and short-range missiles in Japan, and the expansion of the alliance's infrastructure in the Baltic states and Bulgaria.

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