President Volodymyr Zelensky compares the situation in Ukraine to the movie Don’t Look Up
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has criticized the West’s “panic” over the buildup of more than 100,000 Russian troops on its border, saying it is destabilizing the economy.
Mr Zelensky took issue with warnings in Western media of an imminent Russian invasion, echoing his comments to Joe Biden in which he questioned how “imminent” an attack might be.
Speaking to foreign reporters at a press conference on Friday, he said: “I’m the president of Ukraine, I’m based here and I think I know the details more deeply than any other president.”
It comes as US sources told Reuters that Moscow had moved blood supplies to the Ukrainian border alongside other medical supplies to support Russian troops amassed there..
Three current and former U.S. officials have said hoarding those supplies is key to determining whether Mr Putin is ready to lead a possible invasion of Ukraine.
Boris Johnson to call Putin and ask Russia to ‘back off’ Ukraine invasion
Boris Johnson will hold a call with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the coming days in a final attempt to persuade Moscow to ‘back down’ from an invasion of Ukraine (Adam Forest writing).
The Prime Minister will also travel to the region in the coming days, The Independent understands, as he attempts to step up a “deterrence” strategy among Western allies.
Mr Johnson is also expected to consider a range of options from senior British military officials this weekend – including further troop deployments and further strengthening of NATO defences.
A Downing Street spokeswoman said: ‘He will reiterate the need for Russia to step back and engage diplomatically when he meets President Putin this week.’
Number 10 added: ‘The Prime Minister is determined to accelerate diplomatic efforts and strengthen deterrence to avoid bloodshed in Europe.’
Liam JamesJanuary 28, 2022 10:50 p.m.
Zelenksy: Negotiations reduce ‘risks of escalation’
Volodymyr Zelensky said after his phone call with Emmanuel Macron today that intensive international negotiations reduced “the risk of escalation” in the standoff between Ukraine and Russia.
“As long as the conditions are right, we must meet and talk,” Zelensky said in a tweet, adding that he agreed with the French president to maintain the pace of diplomatic talks.
Mr Macron’s office said in a statement that the president reaffirmed France’s “solidarity” with Ukraine during his phone call with Mr Zelensky.
Diplomats from Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany met on Wednesday during a resumption of the so-called Normandy talks that took place amid conflict in Ukraine’s Donbass region in 2014.
It was agreed that they would meet again in two weeks. Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s foreign minister, said the deal meant a diplomatic way out of the current situation would remain open until then at least.
Liam JamesJanuary 28, 2022 9:50 p.m.
Allies will work hard to ‘engage in dialogue with Russia’, says NATO Secretary General
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has said the alliance will continue to offer a united front in the face of European tensions amid Russia’s “significant and unprovoked” military buildup on the Ukrainian border.
Speaking in an online chat hosted by the Atlantic Council, he said: “In a more unpredictable and dangerous world, it is even more important that NATO Allies stick together and build strong institutions like NATO.
“NATO is the foundation for peace and stability in this part of the world, and NATO will continue to work hard to engage in dialogue with Russia and find a political solution to the current tensions.”
Emily AtkinsonJanuary 28, 2022 8:40 p.m.
Taoiseach urges fishermen to stay safe ahead of Russian naval drills
Ireland’s prime minister said he would be concerned for the safety of local fishermen if they insisted on fishing near an area that should be the focus of Russian naval drills.
The artillery exercises are due to take place in early February in international waters but in Irish-controlled airspace and the country’s exclusive economic zone.
The planned exercises caused considerable upheaval and controversy in Ireland.
Dominic McGrath to the story:
Emily AtkinsonJanuary 28, 2022 8:25 p.m.
Poland says tensions between Russia and Ukraine have not been seen for decades
Russian troop movements near the Ukrainian border, which have raised fears of a possible invasion, have complicated the international political scene to a degree not seen in decades, the Polish president said on Friday.
President Andrzej Duda said the situation was “difficult” and reminiscent of 1989, when the Moscow-led communist regime collapsed in central and eastern Europe.
Duda said the “security, sovereignty and freedom” of neighboring Ukraine and Belarus are of great “strategic” importance for Warsaw.
Duda spoke after talks with senior national security officials and political leaders at a meeting of the National Security Council to discuss heightened tensions along the Russia-Ukraine border, which seeks for a long time to join Western political and military structures and alliances.
Ahead of the meeting, Duda said there was “no direct military threat against Poland at the moment”.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Friday that Moscow would not start a war in Ukraine, but warned it would not allow the West to trample its security interests. Russia has amassed over 100,000 Russian troops near Ukraine.
Emily AtkinsonJanuary 28, 2022 8:05 p.m.
Ukraine sends US senators four security requests amid tensions with Russia
Ukraine’s parliament has submitted four requests to US senators for security assistance and sanctions that the country says will deter Russia from invading.
According to Axiosthe four demands approved by President Volodymyr Zelensky’s administration are:
- “Accelerated, higher-impact security assistance, including air defence, anti-ship and anti-armour capabilities, as well as flexible loans and financing mechanisms.”
- “Immediate and mandatory sanctions” against the operator of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. The letter refers to the pipeline as “an existential threat to Ukrainian security and democracy in the same way as Russian troops on our border”.
- “A clear trigger” and a lower threshold for sanctions against Russian actions.
- “Mandatory pre-trigger and post-trigger sanctions against all of Russia’s most important financial institutions.”
President Ruslan Stefanchuk wrote in the letter: “Ukraine speaks of centuries of experience. We understand Russia.
“We know what will and won’t deter Kremlin occupiers.”
Emily AtkinsonJanuary 28, 2022 7:50 p.m.
US will ‘present facts of case’ against Russia to UN Security Council, officials say
The Security Council will meet in open session on Monday at the request of US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield to discuss Russia’s deployment of more than 100,000 troops to its eastern border with Ukraine, which Ms Thomas-Greenfield called it “a matter of critical importance to international peace and security” in a Thursday statement announcing the meeting.
Andrew Feinberg Washington reports.
Emily AtkinsonJanuary 28, 2022 7:25 p.m.
Pentagon chief says ‘conflict is not inevitable’ in Ukraine
On Friday, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told reporters that conflict was “not inevitable” in Ukraine and that there was still potential for a diplomatic solution, writing Eric Garcia.
Mr. Austin told reporters that the Pentagon does not believe that Mr. Putin has made the final decision to use military force against Ukraine, he has the ability to do so.
“And there are multiple options open to him, including seizing important cities and territories, but also coercive acts or provocative political acts like the recognition of separatist territories,” he said. .
He also denounced Russian state media reporting on alleged activity in Ukraine, calling it “straight out of the Russian playbook”.
Mr Austin said the United States was focused on creating a pretext for an invasion, which worries the United States.
The United States said Russia had already pre-positioned agents to carry out a “false flag” operation as a pretext to invade Ukraine.
At the same time, Austin said diplomacy was a preferred option. “Conflict is not inevitable. There is still time and space for diplomacy.
The United States, working closely with our allies and partners, has offered Russia a path out of crisis and into greater security.
Emily AtkinsonJanuary 28, 2022 7:10 p.m.
Letters: To threaten war as lightly as the US, NATO and the UK do is highly irresponsible
I refer to the excellent, well-balanced article by Marie Dezhevski (Germany has taken a cautious stance on Russia – and will be on the right side of history on January 28)writes one of our readers.
In hysterical times like ours, it would be helpful for us to step back and assess the facts as best we can. To threaten war as lightly as America, NATO and the UK do is highly irresponsible and serves no purpose other than to aggravate what should be resolved politically.
Emily AtkinsonJanuary 28, 2022 6:50 p.m.
Why does Russia want to prevent Ukraine from joining NATO?
Tensions continue to rise along the border between Russia and Ukraine, where Moscow has reinforced its military presence, estimated at around 106,000 soldiers.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has denied plans to invade the neighboring state, but presented a series of demands to the West, including an end to the eastern expansion of NATO membership to states ex-Soviets and the reduction in the military activity of the United States and NATO. at the gates of Russia.
NATO said it was sending additional ships and fighter jets for its deployments in Eastern Europe, while the United States and the United Kingdom were withdrawing families of diplomats from Ukraine.
Emily AtkinsonJanuary 28, 2022 6:25 p.m.