Ukraine Russia news
Tensions between Russia and Ukraine have heightened ahead of what the West says is a potential takeover of more parts of Ukraine.
Russian president Vladimir Putin and his government have insisted they have no such plans, despite reports of tens of thousands of Russian troops deployed to the border with Ukraine.
Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters in Brussels: “We call on Russia once again to immediately de-escalate the situation.
“Nato firmly believes that tensions and disagreements must be resolved through dialogue and diplomacy.”
He repeated his call for Moscow and Nato to reestablish their respective offices in Brussels and Moscow, and to make full use of military channels of communication to promote transparency and reduce risks.
John Sullivan, US ambassador in Moscow, hand-delivered two documents this evening – Washington and Nato’s responses to eight demands that Russia made last month – as reported by the Kommersant newspaper.
Some of the demands were for the US to commit to preventing Nato expanding to the east, and to remove its nuclear weapons from Europe.
Five killed after Ukranian soldier fires at a military factory
At least five were killed and five were injured on early Thursday after a Ukrainian National Guard soldier fired at security guards at a military factory in central Ukraine.
The reason behind the firing is not immediately clear.
The soldier armed with a Kalashnikov assault rifle opened fire and fled the scene, the interior ministry officials said, confirming the deaths and injuries.
The firing took place in Dnipro at the Pivdenmash missile factory while weapons were being issued to the guards, officials said.
Police officials are looking for the escaped soldier.
This attack comes at a time Ukraine and Russia are engaged in a tense regional conflict as Vladimir Putin has ordered an invasion. The Russian military has been lining up tens of thousands of its troops along the country’s border with Ukraine.
Nato members, alongside have accused Russia of planning an invasion of the country.
Number of negotiations have failed to resolve the crisis.
Inside the Ukrainian border city with strong ties to Russia
Standing in Freedom Square in Kharkiv, an angry Kiril Semenov said “It is unthinkable for me and my friends to pick up a gun and start fighting the Russians. We have lived together all our lives and now there are people who are trying to turn us into enemies and start a bloodbath.”
He was expressing views which are held, to lesser and greater extent, by a sizeable number of the Russian-speaking population in this city.
Ukrainians are preparing for what they fear are dark and violent days ahead as the diplomatic options to stop a new war in Europe are fading away.
While many have rushed to join volunteer groups in order to resist Vladimir Putin-ordered invasion. They believe it may be imminent.
However, there are others who think that a conflict is being manufactured by the government’s behaviour in Kiev. They think that this has been encouraged by the west, goading Moscow into a war which will end in disaster for Ukraine.
“This war is being brought about by the Americans and Nato telling the people in Kiev not to compromise, using Ukraine again as their proxy,” held the 48-year-old electrical engineer.
“And if the fighting does start, will Nato come here to fight the Russians? Of course not, they have already said they would not.”
World Affairs Editor Kim Sengupta reports from inside the city.
China on Russia-Ukraine crisis: ‘Resolve reasonable security concerns’
China’s foreign minister Wang Yi has asked the United States that Russia’s “reasonable security concerns should be taken seriously and resolved” as it spoke on the simmering war-like situation for the first time.
Talking to the US secretary of state Antony Blinken, Mr Wang said that the “regional security cannot be guaranteed by strengthening or even expanding military blocs.”
“One country’s security cannot be at the expense of the security of other countries, and regional security cannot be guaranteed by strengthening or even expanding military blocs,” the top Chinese minister told Mr Blinken over a telephonic conversation.
US’s Blinken talks to China’s Wang on Ukraine risks
In its latest round of talks with China, the US has pressed for de-escalation and diplomacy as a war-like situation brews between Russia and Ukraine after US secretary of state Antony Blinken spoke to Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi.
The discussions spanned from global security and economic risks that could spill from any further display of aggression from Russia.
Department spokesperson Ned Price said: “Secretary Blinken … conveyed that de-escalation and diplomacy are the responsible way forward.”
Washington has been leaning for a diplomatic path amid the crisis as it addressed sweeping Russian demands in eastern Europe.
Alongside, Moscow has carried out security talks with Western countries by parallely amping up its military presence near Ukraine with new drills.
Russia-Ukraine crisis: UK ‘considering sending hundreds of troops to Eastern Europe’
The British military officials are contemplating whether to send hundreds of troops to eastern Europe and discussions are taking place after the US sought support from the UK and other Nato allies as the west looks at a war-like situation between Russia and Ukraine.
Very advanced discussions are taking place between top UK defence figures, according to a report. An announcement on new deployments is expected as soon as Thursday.
The US wants to bolster military presence and has been seeking reassurances from the UK for backing reinforcement of Nato’s eastern flank running from the Baltic states to Romania and Bulgaria in the south.
This comes shortly after US president Joe Biden’s administration replied to Russia’s security demands in its first written response over the crisis brewing on the border. In a first such, Mr Biden has rejected Vladimir Putin’s push for Ukraine to not be allowed in the alliance.
Sam Hancock reports in detail here.
Canada’s mission to train Ukrainian soldiers to be extended
As the tensions between Russia and the west simmer, Canada will extend and expand its mission to train Ukrainian soldiers, as prime minister Justin Trudeau vowed to help the European nation in its fight to “defend their territorial integrity”.
The country has extended its $340m (£199m) commitment to extend Operation Unifier — the training mission — by another three years.
Canada, however, will not help arm Ukraine with lethal defensive weapons, rejecting the country’s request.
Mr Trudeau has also not ruled out sending weapons in future.
“We continue to look for ways to be helpful to the Ukrainian people as they stand up for their rights to live in a democracy, to choose the course of their country, to defend their territorial integrity. This is something we are unequivocal on,” the Canadian PM said.
He said that Canada will continue to monitor the situation closely and “stand by our Ukrainian friends as we look to give them the support that they need.
US warns Nord Stream 2 project to be stopped if Russia invades Ukraine
The Nord Stream 2 pipeline running between Russia and Germany will not move forward if Russia invades Ukraine, warned US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said on Wednesday.
Mr Price said: “I want to be very clear: if Russia invades Ukraine one way or another, Nord Stream 2 will not move forward,” Price said.
“I’m not going to get into the specifics. We will work with Germany to ensure it does not move forward,” the State Department spokesperson said.
Nord Stream 2 is known as Europe’s most divisive energy project which is designed to double the quantity of gas flowing to Russia straight to Germany. In doing so, it bypasses traditional transit nation Ukraine.
The project has faced resistance from the European Union, from the US and Ukraine as they have cited Europe’s increased energy dependence on Russia by denying the transit fees for Ukraine.
‘Diplomacy should continue until the last moment’
Diplomacy should continue until the last moment in the tense Ukraine stand-off to allow both sides to pull back, the Archbishop of Canterbury has said, singling out Russia’s “completely unjustified threats”.
Stressing the need for mediation, the Most Rev Justin Welby warned that once war flared all control would be “completely lost” and the “casualties will be terrible”.
Speaking in Parliament, the head of the worldwide Anglican church also pressed the Government over provision being made to support fleeing refugees “should the worst come to the worst”.
His comments came amid mounting fears of an invasion by Russia, which has amassed 100,000 troops along the border with its former Soviet neighbour.
Addressing the Tory Lords leader Baroness Evans of Bowes Park following a statement on the Ukraine crisis, Mr Welby said: “Would she agree that mediation and diplomacy should be pursued until the last moment, seeking to find ways of giving both sides the opportunity to withdraw, particularly the Russians to withdraw from their completely unjustified threats?
“Because the one thing we can be sure of is once a war starts all control of the situation is completely lost, possibly for years, and the casualties will be terrible.”
Turkey urges Russia to resist aggression towards Ukraine
Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan said Russia would be unwise to launch a military conflict in Ukraine.
He added that Turkey would do what is necessary as a Nato member if his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin ordered such moves.
In an interview on broadcaster NTV, Erdogan said he had invited Putin to Turkey under a proposal to host Russia and Ukraine for talks on diplomacy and peace.
Erdogan said he expects Putin to respond to his invitation.
He added that there was a need for discussing some of Russia’s security concerns, while also explaining to Moscow that some of its demands are not plausible.
Russian and Ukrainian reps to meet again in two weeks
Another talk between Russia, Ukraine, France, and Germany will be held in two weeks’ time.
The discussion will focus on the parties’ interpretation of the Minsk accord agreed in 2014 and 2015.
The agreement had seen a ceasefire brokered between Russia and Ukraine.
Despite the uncertainty whether all parties were on the same page over the agreement, Russia and Ukraine agreed today in Paris to uphold the ceasefire that applies to the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine.
Representatives from the four countries will again meet for talks, held under the so-called ‘Normandy format’, in Berlin in February.