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File photo: Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting of the State Council of the Russian Federation and the Presidential Council for Science and Education, via a video link at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow, Russia December
Peskov said Monday that Ukraine was preparing an offensive in the east of the country where Kyiv troops have been fighting pro-Russia separatists since 2014

Russia has accused Washington and NATO of escalating tensions through "information hysteria" over deployment of troops in Ukraine.

"As for specific actions, we see statements by the North Atlantic Alliance about reinforcement, pulling forces and resources to the eastern flank. All this leads to the fact that tensions are growing," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

"This is not happening because of what we, Russia, are doing. This is all happening because of what NATO and the U.S. are doing and due to the information they are spreading."

He said the West was showing "hysteria" and putting out information "laced with lies".

It comes after the US-led military organisation said that it is beefing up its "deterrence" presence in the Baltic Sea area.

Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said NATO will "take all necessary measures to protect and defend all allies."

Comment: As it is, NATO isn't 'defending' against anything, these aggressive moves have been in the making since the US coup in 2014, it's just that, now, particularly since the West has clearly escalated its belligerence, that Russia is being forced to respond.

He said: "We will always respond to any deterioration of our security environment, including through strengthening our collective defence."

Peskov said Monday that Ukraine was preparing an offensive in the east of the country where Kyiv troops have been fighting pro-Russia separatists since 2014.

"The Ukrainian authorities are concentrating a huge amount of forces and means on the border with the self-proclaimed republics," he said.

"The nature of this concentration speaks of preparations for an offensive," he said, adding the risk of such an operation now "is very high, higher than before."

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday warned Russia it risked "a new Chechnya" if it invaded Ukraine, that would cost lives and trigger tough economic sanctions.

"Invading Ukraine, from a Russian perspective, is going to be a painful, violent and bloody business," he said. "It's very important that people in Russia understand this could be a new Chechnya".

"We are showing unprecedented unity about the situation in Ukraine, with the strong coordination with the U.S.," EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, who is chairing their meeting, told reporters in Brussels.

Comment: This entire manufactured crisis has been basically at the behest of the US.

Meanwhile, Ukraine's Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it considered the move to send home US diplomats' families as "premature and a manifestation of excessive caution."

"In fact, there have been no cardinal changes in the security situation recently: the threat of new waves of Russian aggression has remained constant since 2014 and the buildup of Russian troops near the state border began in April last year," it said.

Comment: This echoes the admission from a Ukrainian parliamentarian, aligned with PM Zelensky, who just 5 days ago said that the risk of a Russian invasion was no more than last year. And so it's fairly clear just which side is instigating this current escalation.

Russia denies planning to invade Ukraine but has used its build-up of an estimated 100,000 troops near the border to force the West to negotiate over a range of demands to redraw the security map of Europe.

Comment: It's not exactly a 'redrawing', since a number of Russia's demands refer to an agreement dating back decades that the US just failed to uphold:
Dozens of documents analyzed by George Washington University National Security Archives researchers Svetlana Savranskaya and Tom Blanton show that many Western leaders were rejecting the idea of the "Central and Eastern European membership in NATO as of early 1990 and through 1991" and that Russian "complaints" about its subsequent expansions were "founded in written contemporaneous memcons and telcons at the highest levels."

It wants NATO to scrap a promise to let Ukraine join one day and to pull back troops and weapons from former Communist countries in eastern Europe that joined it after the Cold War.

Washington says those demands are non-starters but it is ready to discuss other ideas on arms control, missile deployments, and confidence-building measures.