Russia on Sunday rescinded previous promises to draw dozens of thousands of his troops back from the northern border of Ukraine, a move that American leaders said put Russia another step closer to a project invasion of Ukraine, as residents in Kyiv filled a gold-domed cathedral to pray for peace.
Russia move extend what he said he was military exercises, originally set to end on Sunday, which brought about 30,000 Russian troops to Belarus, Ukraine’s neighbor north. There are among at least 150,000 Russian troops currently deployed outside on the borders of Ukraine, along with tanks, war planes, artillery and other war material.
The continuation of the deployment of russian forces in Belarus has raised concerns that Russia may send these troops to sweep down on the Ukrainian capital, Kyivune city of about 3 millions people less than three hours drive a way.
In what seemed like a last-drop the negotiated diplomatic gambit with ugly of French President Emmanuel Macron, the White House said US President Joe Biden had accepted “in principle” at a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin as he holds off on launching an assault that U.S. officials are warning seems increasingly probable.
White House Press secretary Jen Psaki said the administration had been clear that “we undertake to pursue diplomacy until such time as invasion begins.” american secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov are set meet on Thursday in Europe – as long as Russia does not send its troops to Ukraine first.
“We are always ready for diplomacy. We are also ready to impose swift and severe consequences should Russia instead choose war,” said PSAKI in a statement, as reported by The Associated Press (AP). “And currentlyRussia seems to be continuing its preparations for a full- large scale assault on Ukraine very soon.”
The Kremlin on Monday said there was no concrete plans in place for a summit over Ukraine between Putin and Biden, but only one call or a meeting could be set up at any moment. Tensions were rising over Ukraine, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters, but diplomatic contacts have been active. He said Putin would address the Russian Security Council shortly.
“It is premature to talk about anything specific plans for organize any type of summits,” Peskov told reporters, according to comments reported by Agence France-Presse (AFP).
The highest diplomat of the European Union, foreign policy chef Josep Borrell, hailed the prospect of a Biden-Putin summit, but said that should diplomacy fail 27 nations bloc finalized son package of punishments for use if Putin orders a invasion.
“The work is made. We are ready,” said Borrell, who chairs a meeting of EU foreign ministers on Monday. He didn’t say what kind of the red line would be trigger the measurements, but said he call an urgent meeting of foreign ministers when it has been crossed “and I will present the sanctions at the right time”.
Borrell was charged with design up a list of people in Russia will be hit with asset freeze and travel bans. He did not provide any details about who could be targeted. The European Commission has prepared other sanctions to “limit the access for financial markets for the Russian economy and (impose) the export controls this will stop the possibility for Russia to modernize and diversify son economy”, said its president, Ursula von der Leyen over the weekend.
abroad from Ukraine minister also on Monday welcomed a French initiative for a summit, saying Kyiv hoped it would be result in Moscow pulling back his troops.
“We welcome this initiative. We believe that any effort aimed at a diplomatic solution is worth try,” said Dmytro Kuleba in front of of an encounter with EU counterparts in Brussels. “We hope that the two presidents walk out from the room with an agreement on Russia’s withdrawal of its forces from Ukraine.”
kuleba also called for the EU to start impose penalties on Russia “now” to try to help dissuade Putin from launching a attack.
“We believe there is good and legitimate reasons to impose at least some of sanctions now to show that the European Union is not just talking about sanctions, but that it also walk the walk.”
During his press conference, Peskov also responded to a question from journalists asking if the Kremlin was aware of the alleged existence of a list of Ukrainians who should to be killed or sent to camps in the event of a “invasion” of Ukraine. He called the reports fiction and false.
“Do you understand that this is an absolute duck, that this is a lie? This is absolute fiction, such a list doesn’t exist, it’s a fake,” Peskov said.
The United States notified the United Nations that it had information that Russia has lists of Ukrainians “will be killed or sent to camps” in the event of a invasion. The letter sent to the United Nations High Commissioner for human rights Michelle Bachelet, said the United States is “deeply concerned” and met on guard of a potential “human rights disaster”. The United States has “credible information which indicates that the Russian forces are creating lists of identified Ukrainians to be killed or sent to camps following a military occupation,” the letter said.
In Kyivla life goes on externally as usual for numerous on a sweet winter Sunday, with brunches and religious services, to come of what Biden said late last the week was a already decidedly Russian attack.
Katerina Spanchak, who fled a region of eastern Ukraine when taken over by separatists allied with Russia, was among worshipers crammed into the capital’s smoky St. Michael’s Monastery with the candles burned by the faithful, to pray that Ukraine be spared.
“We all love life, and we are all united by our love of life,” Spanchak said, pausing to collect himself. ” We should enjoy it every day. That’s why I think everything will be fine.
“Our common prayers will be help to escape this drama that is coming,” says another devotee, who identified only by son first name, Oleh.
A US official said Sunday that Biden’s claim that Putin had made the decision roll Russian forces in Ukraine was based on intelligence that Russian front-line commanders have been ordered to begin final preparations for a attack. the official spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe sensitive intelligence.
The United States and many Europeans countries charged for weeks that Putin has built up the forces it needs to invade Ukraine – a western-looking democracy that has sought to move out of Russia’s orbit – and is now trying to create pretexts to invade.
Western nations have threatened massive sanctions if Putin does.
US officials on Sunday defended their decision hold off on their planned financial punishments of Russia ahead of any invasionafter Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky passionately called on Saturday for the West to do more.
“If you pull the trigger on that deterrent, well, it doesn’t exist as a deterrent anymore,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told Fox. on The menace sanctions from Washington.
Russia held nuclear drills as well as conventional drills on Saturday in Belarus, and has ongoing naval exercises off the side in the black Sea.
the announcement that Russia was going back on its promise to withdraw its forces from Belarus came after two days of sustained shelling along a line of contact between Ukraine soldiers and allied separatists of Russia in eastern Ukraine, a area that Ukraine and the West fear to be the flashpoint in trigger a conflict.
Biden summoned the National Security Council to the White House on Russia military accumulation around Ukraine. White House officials released no immediate details. of their two around hours of discussion.
“We talk about the potential for war in Europe,” U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris said earlier Sunday at a security conference. in Munich, Germany, which saw urgent consultations between world leaders on crisis. “It was over 70 years, and during those 70 years… there has been peace and security.
Zelensky on Sunday on call on Twitter for a ceasefirefire. Russia denied plans invade, but the Kremlin did not respond on Saturday to Zelenskyy’s offer to meet with Putin.
After a call with Macron, Putin blamed Ukraine – wrongly, say observers on place – for climbing of bombings along the line of contact and NATO for “inject modern arms and ammunition” into Ukraine.
Macron, a leader in European efforts to negotiate a peaceful resolution with Russia, also spoke separately to Zelenskyy, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Biden.
Blinken intentionally brought up the prospect of a Biden-Putin summit in interviews with american tv channels on Sunday, in an attempt to keep diplomacy alive, a senior we official noted. the official spoke on state of anonymity to discuss American reasoning.
Blinken said Biden was “ready to meet with President Putin at any time. in any format if it can help prevent a war” and the United States official said Macron then forwarded the offer of talk to Putin – conditioned on Russia does not invade – in his phone calls with the Russian leader.
However, tensions rose again. The United States Embassy in Moscow issued an advisory urging greater caution from Americans in Russia as a whole. “Evacuate plans that don’t count on we government assistance,” he warned.
Concentrated immediate concerns on eastern Ukraine, where Ukrainian forces have been fighting pro-Russian rebels since 2014 in a conflict that left some 14,000 dead people.
In the eastern regions of Ukraine of Luhansk and Donetsk, the separatist leaders ordered a full military mobilization and sent more civilians in Russia, which issued approximately 700,000 passports to residents of rebel-held territories. Claims that Russian citizens are in danger could be used as justification for military action.
Officials in the separatist territories claimed that Ukrainian forces launched several artillery attacks over the past day and that two civilians were killed in a failed assault on a village near the Russian border. Ukraine military said two soldiers deceased in firing of the separatist side on Saturday.
“When the tension rises to the maximum as it is now, for Example, on line of contact, then any spark, unforeseen incident or minor planned provocation may lead to irreparable consequences,” Peskov said. in an interview broadcast on Sunday on Russian state television.
On the front line, the Ukrainian soldiers said they had been ordered not to return fire. Zahar Leshushun, a soldier, looking into the distance with a periscope, had followed the news all day from a trench where he is posted near the city of Zoloté.
“At this time, we are not responding to their fire because…” said the soldier in front of the sound of an incoming shell interrupted it. ” Oh ! They shoot at us now. They’re aiming for the command post.”