More NATO troops headed to Eastern Europe and some countries worked to move their citizens and diplomats out of Ukraine on Monday, while the German Chancellor made a last- abandon the attempt to head off a feared Russian invasion that some warn could be just days in a row.
With the world already on high alert, UK Armed Forces Minister James Heappey said a Russian attack could “actually happen now with without notice.” This follows a warning American officials that a invasion could come this week – leading in a flurry of diplomacy but also deterrents.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz visited Ukraine on Monday and plans Carry on on in Moscow, where he will try to persuade Russian President Vladimir Putin to run down. Moscow denies having everything plans invade but massaged well over 130,000 troops near Ukraine and, in the united states viewa built up enough firepower to launch a attack on short notice.
“We are living a menace very, very serious for peace in Europe,” Scholz wrote. on Twitter at son arrival in Kiev. “From Moscow we are urgently waiting for signals of de-escalation.”
With worry rising that war might be imminent, the Germans military say it first of some 350 additional troops it sends to reinforce NATO forces in Lithuania was on its way on Monday. Six howitzers were also be loaded onto trucks for transportation to the eastern flank of the alliance.
“It’s a strong signal that Germany is willing and able of reinforce the battle group immediately if necessary, ”said Lt. Col. Daniel Andrae, German commander of NATO troops in Lithuania, told reporters. “I’m really happy to have the guys with me, and be ready for whatever (might) come up”Andrae added, according to Reuters. the added soldiers will stay as long as they are needed, he said.
Meanwhile, Lithuania has moved the families of diplomats and some non-essential diplomatic workers out of Ukraine; the United States is already pulling the most of son personnel from the embassy in Kiev. And the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs joined several western nations in urging its citizens to leave the country.
the moves where the latest preparations for a possible war. On Sunday, some airlines canceled flights to the Ukrainian capital and troops unloaded new cargo there of weapons of NATO members. Ukraine air circulation safety the Ukraerorukh agency declared the airspace over the Black Sea as an “area of potential danger” car of Russian naval exercises and recommended that aircraft avoid flying over the sea from February 14 to 19.
The United States and its NATO allies have repeatedly warned that Russia will pay a high price price for any invasion – but they sometimes struggled to present a united front. by Scholz government, in particular, has been criticized for refuse to supply lethal weapons to Ukraine or spell out which would punish support against Russia, raising questions about Berlin resolve stand up in Moscow.
The Chancellor’s visits this week will therefore be closely monitored. for panels of deviating from the message delivered by Washington and other NATO allies.
So far, these warnings seem to have had little effect: Russia has only strengthened up troops and weapons in the region and launched massive exercises in son ally Belarus, which also Ukrainian neighbors. The West fears that the exercises, which run until Sunday, could be used by Moscow as a cover for a invasion from north.
Russia repeatedly brushed off Ukrainian and Western concerns about military buildup, claiming it has the right to deploy forces wherever necessary on son territory. On Monday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov accused Ukraine of stir up tensions by reinforcing up its forces near territories controlled by Russian-backed rebels in Eastern Ukraine.
Moscow wants guarantees from the West that NATO won’t allow Ukraine and others former Soviet countries at join as members and that the alliance will stop the deployment of weapons in Ukraine and launch back its forces from Eastern Europe. The United States and NATO flatly rejected these demands.
Some observers expect Moscow to eventually agree to a compromise that help avoid the hostilities and allow all sides to save face. While NATO refuses to shut the door to Ukraine, the alliance also has no intention of embrace it or any other ex-soviet nation at any time soon. Some experts have floated ideas such as a moratorium on NATO expansion or neutral status for Ukraine to defuse tensions.
Ukraine’s Ambassador to the UK, Vadym Prystaiko, seemed to suggest just such a middle pathstating the BBC on Sunday that the country could give up son goal of joining NATO – a goal enshrined in its constitution – if it could avoid war with Russia.
“We could – above all be threatened like that, blackmailed and pushed into that,” Prystaiko told BBC Radio.
On Monday, however, Prystaiko seemed back far from it, saying that “for avoid war we are ready for many concessions… but that has nothing to do with NATO, which is dedicated in the Constitution.”
Oleg Nikolenko, spokesperson for the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry also play down Prystaiko’s statement, as reported by The Associated Press (AP).
Asked about Prystaiko’s comment, Peskov said Russia would welcome such a move.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Sunday that Kiev had requested a meeting of the organization for Security and cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in the next 48 hours to discuss Russian deployments near the country’s borders. Russia argued that it was not obligated to account for its rise to power before the OSCE and such a meeting would have little chance to defuse tensions.
With the region on edgethe Russian Ministry of Defense summoned the US Embassy military attached on Saturday to protest what he said was a US submarine in Russian waters near the Kuril Islands in The pacific. The Russian military said the sub initially ignored orders to leave, but left after the Navy used unspecified “appropriate means”. The United States denied that son vessel has ever entered Russian waters.
Asked by lawmakers on Monday if the military could hit foreign warships entering Russian waters, deputy chief of the Russian military General Staff of Stanislav Gadzhimagomedov said that military stands ready for that but added such as decisions are only made on the highest level.
High-level diplomacy has also continued – but with Small results until now. In a one hour saturday call with Putin, US President Joe Biden said theinvasion of Ukraine would be cause “widespread human suffering” and that the West is committed to ending the crisis but “equally prepared for other scenarios,” the White House said.
Biden also spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy for about an hour on Sunday, agreeing to continue pushing both deterrence and diplomacy in an attempt to prevent off a Russian offensive.
As he has done before, Zelenskyy sought to play down the idea that a conflict was imminent, noting that Kiev and other cities of Ukraine “are safe and reliable protection.”
His office is reading of the call also quoted him suggesting that a quick visit from Biden would be help defuse the situation – one possibility was not mentioned in the white house summary of the call.
Russia and Ukraine have been locked down in a bitter conflict since 2014, when the pro-Kremlin Ukrainian leader was ousted from office by a popular uprising. Moscow responded by annexing the Crimean peninsula, then backing a separatist insurgency in eastern Ukraine, where fighting has killed over 14,000 people.
A 2015 peace deal brokered by France and Germany helped halt battlesbut regular skirmishes have continued and efforts to reach a political settlement have stalled. But Germany is near business reports with Moscow and a strong dependency on Russian imports of natural gas have been a source of lingering concern for The pro-Western leaders of Kyiv and Biden team.
Scholz warned Russia that it should “not to underestimate our unity and our determination” but also covered against unequivocally backing Biden’s pledge to ‘end’ Russia new Nord Stream 2 gas link to Germany. Kyiv is also upset with Berlin for not have joined some of its NATO allies in start supplying arms to Ukraine.
Ukraine’s Ambassador to Berlin Andriy Melnik fumed over ‘German hypocrisy’ in a tweet on Sunday, saying that Germany was exporting”dual-use goods to Russia” but offering “no weapons for L’auto-defense.”
Scholz’s visit to Moscow on Tuesday follows tit-for-tat closures of the German-language a service of Russian RT network and the Moscow bureau of Deutsche Welle in Germany.