As tensions grow between the West and its rivals in Russia and China, there are growing concerns that proxy wars could develop into broader armed conflict.
Britain and the US have ordered a partial withdrawal of troops from their embassies in Ukraine amid growing concern about an impending Russian invasion of the former Soviet Union country. Elsewhere, international analysts are wary of the many flashpoints where Beijing may want to make its military footprint over the next decade.
As more than 100,000 Russian troops gather near the Ukrainian border, concerns about a Kremlin takeover could spill over into armed conflict.
A Ukrainian government minister and former top intelligence officer, Yuliia Laputina, has warned that a full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine could trigger a “Third World War” when she says military action of Vladimir Putin will spill over into other former Soviet states.
“If you know Russia is going to invade, you should also be concerned about the Balkans,” she said Sky News in an interview at her office in Kyiv. “What the Russians are doing now in Serbia – they try to provoke the situation in the Balkans.
“But we also take into account [the beginning of] The Third World War… We should pay attention to the Ukraine issue for the security of the continent.”
In a sign of escalating concerns, Britain and the US have begun withdrawing embassy staff from Ukraine in a “precautionary” move, although “nothing concrete is believed to have happened in 24 hours”. over to make decisions of the US and UK”, the BBC reported.
The US has also ordered relatives of its embassy staff to leave the country, warning that an invasion could happen “at any time”.
British intelligence believes that the Kremlin plans to install a pro-Kremlin leader in the Ukrainian government.
The State Department took the unusual step of naming Yevhen Murayev, “a former MP who controls a pro-Russian television station”, as a potential Moscow candidate, reports Guardians. The newspaper said the reports caused “shock and some skepticism in Ukrainian political and media circles on Sunday”.
Not everyone is sure that Ukraine could face an impending war: “The US insistence that a Russian attack is imminent has puzzled many in Kyiv, while officials Authorities insist they have no good reason to be alarmed.” Financial Times.
Similarly, it said, Britain’s warning that a coup was being planned in Kyiv “has been met with widespread confusion”.
Ukraine’s President, Volodymyr Zelensky, has in recent days “tried to downplay” fears of an impending Russian attack and “call for calm” after talks with US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, the newspaper reported. fox Time.
“Was there a risk of all-out war just now? This is not the first day these risks exist and they are not increasing. The hype around them has increased,” he said in a video address to Ukrainians after the talks.
Ukraine and the West have also pointed the finger at Russia over the migrant crisis on the border between Poland and Belarus. The Belarusian government has been accused of “causing the crisis by encouraging migrants from the Middle East to come to Belarus and then send them to the border”, said DW.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki accused Russia of being the “mastermind” behind the crisis, with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko a key ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the situation was designed to “threaten security, cause division and to distract from Russian activities on the border with Ukraine”.
Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba sees Russia’s actions as part of a broader plan. “When we see migrants being used as a weapon, when we see misinformation being used as a weapon, when we see gas being used as a weapon,” he said. soldiers and their guns… these are not separate factors.” “It’s all part of a broader strategy to disrupt Europe.”
Indeed, these “flashpoint” events appear to have individually “complex origins,” says Bob Seely in walkie talkie, but Putin’s job is “behind it all”.
“Putin’s Kremlin has been preparing for conflict since he declared a new era of hostility in his 2007 speech in Munich,” Seely continued, but his words were alarmed by “Western nations.” listen and ignore”.
Strictly argues that Putin aims to do three things as his rule approaches the last decade: “First, destroy an independent Ukrainian state; second, breaking NATO and third, reinforcing Russia’s role as an illiberal adversary to the West”.
MI6 director Richard Moore has warned that China’s rise is the “only top priority” of the Secret Service as Beijing continues to “conduct large-scale espionage operations against the United Kingdom.” Great Britain and our allies”.
Moore, known as C, said “tectonic plates are shifting” as China shows more willingness to assert its power.
In his first time public speech, sent to the International Institute for Strategic Studies in November, he said Beijing’s “growing military power” and desire to unify with Taiwan, by force if necessary, “poses a serious challenge to global peace and stability”.
His comments came weeks after US President Joe Biden said the US was committed to defending Taiwan, although a White House statement later asserted that the country’s policy was “strategic ambiguity”. This still applies.
The policy “leaves ambiguity about exactly how the United States will respond,” explains New York Times, and many experts say it’s time for more clarity.
The paper suggested that Biden’s rhetoric “may reflect Washington’s desire to harden its language to counter China’s new capabilities, which would allow for much more subtle moves to squeeze Taiwan.” – severing underground cables, internet connections and liquid natural gas shipments – rather than a total invasion”.
Tensions have also remained high in East Sea. Beijing considers the vast area off East Asia to be its sovereign territory, while Washington views “China’s militarization of the area as a transparent rewrite of international rules”, The National Interest noted. determined. The US magazine added: “Neither side backed down – nor did any country seem interested in a compromise.”
Biden held virtual talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping last year, in part, to ensure that their rivalry “does not lead to armed conflict due to a misunderstanding in a global flashpoint.” “, speak BBCStephen McDonnell, China correspondent.
The conference appeared to be a “real attempt to reset” and could “change global geopolitical relations in a concrete way,” he continued.
But Pentagon officials remain wary that China could start a military conflict in the Taiwan Strait or other flashpoints “at some point in the next decade,” said Michael Beckley, deputy director professor at Tufts University, and Hal Brands, professor of global affairs at Johns Hopkins. in Atlantic. While Biden may insist that the US is not seeking to start a new cold war, it is a “wrong way of looking at US-China relations”, they said.
“A cold war with Beijing is underway. Instead, the pertinent question is whether the US can prevent China from starting a heated war.”
MI6 is also “actively focused” on Iran, its head said in November, noting that the Iranian leadership has “accepted a clear doctrine of conflict with both Israel and the West” since Islamic revolution of 1979.
It uses Hezbollah to stir up “political turmoil” in other countries, has built “significant cyber capabilities” for use against its adversaries, and continues to develop nuclear technology. individual “has no civilian use,” Moore said.
Long-awaited talks to restore Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal began in Vienna late last year, three years after Donald Trump pulled the US out of the deal. Iran responded to the withdrawal with “an overt, step-by-step increase in the machinery used to enrich uranium – the nuclear fuel needed for a bomb,” explained. NPR.
Biden wants to rejoin the deal, which would limit Iran’s nuclear activities in return for an end to crippling economic sanctions. However, Tehran refuses to hold direct talks with Washington because it is no longer a party to the accord.
Representatives of China, France, Germany, Russia and Britain convened in Austria, while messages were delivered to a separate American representative.
After negotiations on the deal stalled, Iran elected a “tough, new president” and has had a series of attacks, suspected of emanating from Israel, on its nuclear program. including the assassination of a top Iranian scientist, NPR said. . “That increases the risk of conflict at the bargaining table.”
So far, Western diplomats have expressed “protected optimism” and “relief” after Tehran formally agreed to discuss steps towards compliance with the deal, it said. Guardians. But “there is still a doubt” that it is “playing with time” as it develops nuclear technology.
Speaking in London on November 29, Israel’s Foreign Minister, Yair Lapid, announced Iran will only “play to buy time, make billions of dollars from sanctions relief, deceive the world and covertly advance their nuclear program”.
In a clear signal of growing concern over Iran’s activities, Gulf states joined Israel for the first time in a joint exercise hosted by the US Navy, reports . BBC. It was a move that was “almost unthinkable” just three years ago, and following the signing of the Abraham Agreement in September 2020, which saw the UAE and Bahrain normalize their relations with Tel Aviv. Aviv.
Since then, there has been “a tense exchange of diplomatic, military and intelligence communications between Israel and those Gulf states” as the region grows increasingly worried about Iran’s activities.
https://www.theweek.co.uk/92967/are-we-heading-towards-world-war-3 Are we heading to the Third World War?