After Biden’s warning, Russia says it doesn’t want war: Live news | Ukraine-Russia crisis


Russia’s foreign minister has said Russia does not want war after Washington warned Moscow could invade Ukraine next month.

Sergei Lavrov told Russian media on Friday that the Kremlin was not seeking conflict with Kiev, but reiterated that Moscow would not allow its security interests to be ignored.

“There will be no war as it depends on the Russian Federation, we don’t want war,” he said in a live interview with Russian radio stations.

On Thursday, the United States and NATO responded to Russia’s sweeping security demands that arose in December after Moscow built up troops near the border with Ukraine. First, Russia wants NATO to commit to permanently preventing Ukraine from joining the alliance.

Russia said the responses gave it little cause for optimism because there was “no positive answer to the main question”, but could serve as a starting point for discussions on “secondary issues”.

Here are all the latest updates:

Macron will push for “more transparency from Moscow”

Al Jazeera’s Natacha Butler, reporting from Paris, said French President Emmanuel Macron had two purposes for his call with Russian leader Vladimir Putin on Friday.

“The first is to use his powers of personal persuasion to convince Putin to take the path of diplomacy and not the path of conflict,” Butler said.

“And Macron is also trying to check with Putin what exactly Russia’s intentions are on the border with Ukraine, with its troop build-up there, and to push for more transparency from Moscow.”

Russian incursion would have ‘devastating consequences’, warns Amnesty

Global rights group Amnesty International warns that any escalation of the existing conflict in eastern Ukraine, where Kyiv has been fighting Russian-backed separatists since 2014, will have “devastating consequences for human rights in the region”. .

An upsurge in violence would threaten “the lives, livelihoods and infrastructure of civilians”, Amnesty warned in a statement, and lead to severe food shortages and the potential mass displacement of people.

“The consequences of actual military force are likely to be devastating. Ukraine’s recent history is punctuated by conflicts involving Russian troops in the Donbass and the illegal annexation of Crimea,” Amnesty Secretary General Agnès Callamard said, citing the war in eastern Ukraine. Ukraine and the capture of the Crimean Peninsula by Russia in 2014.

“These episodes tore communities and lives apart, as military forces violated the rights of civilians with impunity; it is time to break this vicious circle,” she added.

Sanctions only part of Western response if Moscow orders invasion: US envoy

US Ambassador to Moscow John Sullivan said economic sanctions against Russia would be only part of the West’s response if the Russian military were to invade Ukraine.

Sullivan told an online briefing that other measures would include export controls and greater defense of allies in Europe and prevent the operation of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline between Russia and Germany.

He also said the size of the Russian military buildup on Ukraine’s borders would allow an invasion with little warning.

Ukraine is already embroiled in conflict, with Kiev battling Russian-backed separatists who hold swaths of territory in the country’s east [File: Andriy Dubchak/AP]

A simple guide to the Ukraine-Russia crisis

The Russian-Ukrainian clash has been marked by dizzying developments and pinball rhetoric between Moscow and the West. To help you understand the crisis, Al Jazeera has concocted a simple explainer.

Take a look here.

Russia’s Putin, China’s Xi to focus talks on European security: Kremlin

The Kremlin said Putin’s talks with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping would mainly focus on European security and Russia’s dialogue with NATO and the United States.

Putin will visit China next month to hold talks and attend the opening ceremony of the Beijing Winter Olympics. The two leaders will also discuss trade and space, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

Peskov also said Putin could give his assessment of U.S. and NATO responses to Russia’s security demands during a phone call with Macron later Friday.

Lavrov and German Baerbock to speak by phone: report

Lavrov will speak by phone with his German counterpart Annalena Baerbock later today, Russian news agency Interfax reports.

Russia is keen for German regulators to give the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline the green light despite the Ukraine crisis.

Learn more about the much-vaunted energy infrastructure project here.

War is only possible if Belarus or Russia attack: Lukashenko

Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko has said Minsk has absolutely no interest in a war and that the conflict would only break out if Belarus or its close ally Russia were directly attacked.

Lukashenko made the remarks in a speech to lawmakers and officials. Moscow and Minsk are expected to hold joint drills in Belarus north of Ukraine next month.

The Belarusian leader said the exercises would help Minsk understand where it should concentrate its forces and that Belarus should protect its southern flank with Ukraine.

British billionaire rallies business leaders to back Russia sanctions

British billionaire Richard Branson has weighed in on the Ukraine crisis, warning that any invasion by Moscow would have “devastating and terrible consequences” and calling on business leaders to “come together and defend Ukraine’s sovereignty”.

“While at a cost, we must all send a clear message that unilateral aggression is always unacceptable and that the global business community will support the full range of sanctions against any nation that seeks to violate another’s sovereignty. “, did he declare. said in a statement.

Hungary will seek more Russian gas, says Orban

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has said he will seek to increase the amount of gas his country receives from Russia during his talks with Putin next week.

“I would like to realize during our talks that in the current difficult situation burdened by higher energy prices … the amount of gas we have in the long term should be increased,” Orban told public radio.

Hungary, a member of the European Union and NATO, concluded a new long-term gas supply agreement with Russia’s Gazprom in August.

Orban, who faces what is expected to be a close election on April 3, has rejected calls from a unified opposition to cancel his visit to Moscow, scheduled for Tuesday.

Macron to seek clarification on Putin’s intentions, says French FM

Macron will try to assess whether Putin wants “consultations or confrontation” on Ukraine when they speak by phone, the French foreign minister said.

Speaking to RTL radio, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said the West still saw dialogue as possible, but the ball was in Putin’s court.

“It’s up to Vladimir Putin to say whether he wants consultations or a confrontation,” Le Drian told RTL radio, asking if the Russian leader wanted to be a “destabilizing power” or would seek de-escalation.

Russian warships practice artillery fire in the Black Sea

Russian warships practiced firing at air and sea targets during exercises in the Black Sea south of Ukraine, the Russian Defense Ministry said.

Exercises involving 20 navy ships began on Wednesday and are expected to end on Friday.

They are part of a series of Navy exercises taking place in many locations this month and then from the Pacific to the Atlantic.

Prepare for Russian cyberattacks, UK warns businesses

The UK has asked national organizations to strengthen their defenses against possible Russian cyberattacks as the Ukraine crisis continues.

The UK’s National Cyber ​​Security Center (NCSC) said it was calling on them to step up their security in response to “malicious cyber incidents in and around Ukraine”.

A cyber attack on Ukraine earlier this month warned Ukrainians to “be afraid and expect the worst”. Ukraine said Moscow was behind the attack, but the Kremlin denied any involvement in the incident.

A member of the Ukrainian Armed Forces uses periscopes while observing the area at battle positions on the separation line near the rebel-controlled city of Donetsk, UkraineRussia denies plans to invade Ukraine, but Kiev and its Western allies fear Moscow is preparing to make an incursion after massing troops near the two countries’ common border. [File: Serhiy Takhmazov/Reuters]

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