Strategic nuclear forces of Russia conducted exercises under President Vladimir Putin’s supervision on Saturday. Meanwhile, Washington has accused Russian troops massed near Ukraine’s border of advancing and being “poised to strike.”
The news: As the Western countries fear a growing war, the White House said US President Joe Biden’s national security team informed him that Russia could launch an attack in Ukraine “at any time,” and he planned to meet with his top advisers on Sunday to discuss the crisis.
- Foreign ministers from the G7 group of wealthy nations said there is no evidence that Russia is reducing its military activity in the region and that they are “gravely concerned” about the situation.
What’s going on: Following an exchange of accusations between Kyiv and Moscow over new shelling near the border, France and Germany urged their citizens in Ukraine to leave. Russian forces are beginning to “uncoil and move closer” to the border, according to US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.
- Russia ordered the military buildup while demanding that NATO bar Ukraine from joining the alliance, but it dismisses Western warnings that it is planning an invasion of Ukraine as hysterical and dangerous.
- Moscow claims to be retreating, but the United States and its allies say the buildup is increasing.
What are they saying: “We hope Putin steps back from the brink of war,” Austin said at a news conference in Lithuania, adding that an invasion of Ukraine was not a foregone conclusion.
- Moscow’s main demands, according to Washington and NATO, are non-starters, but in Ukraine, concerns about Putin’s plans are growing.
At a security conference in Munich, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy expressed his displeasure, saying the global security architecture was “almost broken.” He urged the United Nations Security Council’s permanent members, Germany, and Turkey to meet in order to devise new security guarantees for his country.
“The rules that the world agreed on decades ago no longer work,” Zelenskiy explained. “They can’t keep up with new threats… Take this cough syrup if you need a coronavirus vaccine.”
- On Saturday, World Bank President David Malpass informed Zelenskiy that the bank was planning to lend Ukraine up to $350 million.