Johnson, UK, cites "a dangerous moment" in Ukraine crisis

Boris Johnson, the British Prime Minister, said that the Ukraine crisis is now "the most dangerous moment" in Europe's history. Meanwhile, his top diplomat met with her counterpart from Moscow and stated that the Kremlin will not accept Western lectures.

11 February 2022 Friday 11:31
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Johnson, UK, cites "a dangerous moment" in Ukraine crisis

In the midst of the deadlock, Russian forces conducted sweeping maneuvers in Belarus north of Ukraine, as part of a buildup over 100,000 troops, which has fueled Western fears about an invasion.

NATO has increased military deployments to support its eastern flank. The U.S. sent troops to Poland, and Romania. The arrival of a British Royal Air Force plane carrying 350 troops to Poland on Thursday was a result of London's anti-tank missiles being sent to Ukraine.

Johnson stated that "This is possibly the most dangerous moment," Johnson stated at NATO Headquarters in Brussels.

Johnson later flew to Warsaw with the Polish prime minister to discuss his views on President Vladimir Putin's plans for Ukraine. He said that he believes Putin is still undecided and that the West should use "sanctions, military resolve, plus diplomacy."

He said that "We stand at the edge of a Precipice" and that things were as dangerous as he had seen them in Europe over a long time. Putin must "disengage and de-escalate."

In an interview with NBC News on Thursday, Joe Biden reiterated his warning to Americans living in Ukraine that they should evacuate as soon as possible.

"It's not as if we're dealing in terrorist organizations. We are dealing with one the largest armies of the world. He said that it was a different situation and that things could get crazy fast."

When asked if there were any situations that would make it necessary to send U.S. soldiers to Ukraine to rescue Americans, he replied: "There isn't. It's a world conflict when Russia and the Americans start firing at each other.

Putin spoke in Moscow and stated that Russia is continuing talks with the U.S.

Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General, stated that he had sent a letter back to Sergey Lavrov, Russian Foreign Minister, in which he reiterated an invitation to participate in a series on improving European security.

Lavrov was firm in his Moscow talks with Liz Truss (U.K. Foreign Secretary), who warned Russia that an attack on its neighbor would have "major consequences and incur severe costs."

Lavrov dismissed Western concerns about Russia's troop buildup as "sheer propagandism" and said that Moscow will not stand for lectures.

He said that "ideological approaches, ultimatums, and moralizing are a road to nowhere" and noted that Truss's talks were the first in four years of Russia-UK ties. These ties have been damaged by the poisoning of Sergei Skripal, a former Russian spy, in England in 2018, along with other tensions.

Russia claims it does not intend to invade Ukraine, but asks the West to exclude Ukraine and other ex-Soviet countries from NATO. Russia also demands that NATO refrain from deploying weapons in Ukraine and reduce the number of alliance forces from Eastern Europe. These demands were flatly rejected by NATO and the U.S.

Truss reiterated Moscow's call to withdraw its troops. Lavrov, however, rejected the request as unsuitable and pointed out British and NATO military buildsups in Eastern Europe.

According to the Kommersant, Lavrov stressed Moscow's right for its troops to be deployed on its territory. Truss was then asked by RBC if she recognized the Voronezh- and Rostov regions as part Russia.

Lavrov stated that he was disappointed by the meeting. He described it as a "conversation among deaf and dumb" and said Truss ignored Russian arguments. This was a reflection of his "egoistic" position.

He ridiculed claims that Russia was waiting for ground to freeze in order to send tanks into Ukraine. However, he said that the British side was just as resistant to Moscow's arguments.

Russia's top diplomat claimed that Western politicians were inciting tensions over Ukraine to gain domestic political advantage. Russia had always intended to withdraw its troops following the maneuvers, Lavrov stated. "The West will create a stir and claim that Russia has de-escalated."

He said, "It's selling heat air."

Russia is building up troops to be deployed on the territory Belarusian allies for joint drills. The drills, which began a decisive phase on Thursday and will continue through February 20, are part of Russia's buildup. The Ukrainian capital is situated approximately 75 km (47 miles) to the south of Belarus' border.

General Mark Milley, Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff spoke with his Belarusian counterpart Thursday about regional security. Milley's office stated that the call enabled communication to "reduce miscalculations and gain perspectives on current European Security."

On Thursday, Ukraine protested Russian naval drills at the Black and Azov Seas. This was seen as a hinderance to commercial shipping. Oleksii Reznikov, Defense Minister, demanded a strong Western response. He tweeted that "when (Russian ships) can't access world's ports, then they'll understand what the price of their impudence."

The Kremlin replied that the exercises were in compliance with international maritime law.

Despite the West's warnings of invasion, Ukraine sought to project calm in order to avoid destabilizing its fragile economy.

President Volodymyr Zienskyy stated to business leaders that he believes the concentration of troops close to the border is psychological pressure from the neighbor. "We have sufficient resources and weapons to defend our country."

Since 2014, Russia and Ukraine have been in bitter conflict. A popular uprising forced the Kremlin-friendly leader of Ukraine from office. Moscow responded by annexed Crimea and supporting a separatist insurgency within eastern Ukraine. The fighting has claimed over 14,000 lives.

The 2015 peace agreement between France and Germany ended full-scale hostilities. However, there are still frequent skirmishes and attempts to reach a political solution have been stalled. In recent weeks, Ukrainian officials have stated that the implementation of the agreement would be detrimental to their country.

On Thursday, foreign policy advisors from Russia, France, Russia, and Ukraine met for nearly nine hours in Berlin to try to revive the deadlocked agreement. However, they did not make any progress.

Dmitry Kozak, a Russian representative, stated that Ukraine had refused to enter into a dialogue with rebels about a political settlement. This would have prevented any further movement. Andriy Yarmak, the Ukrainian ambassador, praised the "effective and efficient" platform of the four-way talks and noted that both parties had agreed to continue discussions.

The Berlin talks are part of renewed diplomatic efforts in order to solve the most serious security crisis between Russia, the West and Russia since the Cold War. Antony Blinken, the U.S. Secretary-of-State, met Lavrov at Geneva. Emmanuel Macron, the French President met Putin in Moscow. The two met before he headed to Kyiv.

Olaf Scholz (German Chancellor) discussed the standoff and plans to visit Moscow and Kyiv on February 14-15. He noted that "what's at stake right now" is "preventing a European war."

U.S. lawmakers stated that they are stuck in negotiations for new sanctions against Russia. Republicans are pushing for stronger, faster moves, such as sanctions against the Nord Stream 2 Russian gas pipe to Germany. Democrats, on the other hand, want new sanctions to be made conditional upon a Russian attack on Ukraine. This will allow them to avoid any economic collateral damage to their allies.

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