The US and UK have begun moving personnel from their Kiev embassies
Nato is sending additional ships and fighter jets to eastern Europa amid growing fears of an imminent Russian invasion of Ucrânia, with Boris Johnson warning Vladimir Putin that any conflict would be “painful, violent and bloody”.
Secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg said Nato would take “all necessary measures” to protect and defend its allies.
US president Joe Biden was due to hold a video call with European leaders late on Monday over the crisis.
Britain and the United States announced they are moving some staff and families from their embassies in Kiev, and Mr Johnson said an invasion of Ukraine would be “disastrous” and could end up becoming a “new Chechnya.”
Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, Oleg Nikolenko, said the American decision was “a premature step” and a sign of “excessive caution”. He said that Russia is sowing panic in order to destabilise Ukraine.
Denmark is sending a war ship to the Baltic Sea and is set to deploy four F-16 fighter jets to Lithuania in support of Nato’s long-standing air-policing mission in the region.
Spain is sending ships to join Nato naval forces and is considering sending fighter jets to Bulgaria. France are also ready to send troops to Romania on Nato’s command with the Netherlands sending two F-35 fighter aircraft to Bulgaria from April to support Nato’s air-policing activities in the region.
The United States has also made clear that it is considering increasing its military presence in the eastern part of the Alliance, and moving some of its troops stationed in western Europe eastwards.
The latest announcement by Nato was denounced by Russia. Deputy foreign minister Alexander Grushko accused the alliance of “demonising Russia” and of using “threats and military pressure”.
Russia has massed an estimated 100,000 troops near Ukraine’s borders and is demanding that NATO promise it will never allow Kiev to join the organisation, but denies it is planning an invasion.
Enquanto isso, the European Union said it had stepped up sanction preparations and warned that “any further military aggression by Russia against Ukraine will have massive consequences and severe costs”.
Separadamente, it also committed to increase financial support for embattled Ukraine, vowing to push through a special package of 1.2 bilhões de euros (£1 billion) in loans and grants as soon as possible. For now though, it is keeping embassy staff in the Ukraine capital.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Nato and Washington were the reasons for escalating tensions, “not because of what we, Rússia, are doing”.
The West is also nervously watching Russian troop movements and war games in Belarus for any signs that a new invasion of Ukraine is imminent. Russia has already invaded Ukraine once, annexing the Crimean Peninsula in 2014. Moscow has also supported pro-Russian Ukrainian separatists fighting the Kiev government in the Donbass region. Fighting in eastern Ukraine has killed around 14,000 people and still simmers.
Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said he would inform his counterparts that Russia plans to holds war games 240 quilômetros (150 milhas) off Ireland’s southwest coast — in international waters but within Ireland’s exclusive economic zone.“This isn’t a time to increase military activity and tension in the context of what’s happening with and in Ukraine.” Coveney said. “The fact that they are choosing to do it on the western borders, se você gostar, of the EU, off the Irish coast, is something that in our view is simply not welcome.”
Questions have been raised about just how unified the EU approach to Russia is, Contudo. Diverse political, business and energy interests have long divided the 27-country bloc in its approach to Moscow. Em volta 40 per cent of the EU’s natural gas imports come from Russia, much of it via pipelines across Ukraine — and many are skittish about being cut off from that supply in winter – as energy prices soar.
Na segunda-feira, Hungary said it did not “want a new Cold War” in Europe and was supporting all diplomatic efforts to avert war.
The EU’s two major powers – France and Germany – appear most cautious. French President Emmanuel Macron has renewed previously rejected calls for a summit with Putin.
Late on Saturday, the head of the German navy, Vice Admiral Kay-Achim Schoenbach, resigned after coming under fire for saying that Ukraine would not regain the Crimean Peninsula, and for suggesting that Putin deserves “respect”.
No fim de semana, Britain said it Russia was trying to install a puppet government in Ukraine, headed by man called Yevhen Murayev.
Mr Murayev denied the claim and told O Independente it was an “absurd but very damaging fantasy”.
Vadym Prystaiko, Ukraine’s ambassador to the Reino Unido, said a Russian invasion is “very likely” but said that “there is still room for diplomatic resolution”.
Contudo, Russia’s foreign minister accused the UK of circulating “disinformation” – and told the Foreign Office to “cease these provocative activities” e “stop spreading nonsense”.