US President Joe Biden will meet Putin ‘if there is no aggression’: White HouseAuthor: Yuvi February 21, 2022
Russia on Sunday reneged on earlier promises to pull back thousands of its troops from Ukraine’s northern border, a move that US leaders said gave Russia another step in what it called a planned invasion of Ukraine. . Residents of Ukraine’s capital filled the gold-domed cathedral to pray for peace.
Russia’s action expands on what it said was a military exercise, originally scheduled to end on Sunday, that brought an estimated 30,000 Russian troops to Belarus, Ukraine’s neighbor to the north. They are among at least 150,000 Russian troops now stationed outside Ukraine’s borders with tanks, warplanes, artillery and other munitions.
The continued deployment of Russian forces in Belarus raised concerns that they could be used to attack Ukraine’s capital, Kiev, a city of about three million people less than three hours away.
In what appears to be a last-ditch diplomatic gamble brokered by French President Emmanuel Macron, the White House said US President Joe Biden has agreed “in principle” to a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, unless He holds off on launching The attack that US officials have warned seems more likely.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the administration was clear that “we are committed to pursuing diplomacy until the invasion begins.” US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov are due to meet in Europe on Thursday . Until there is another attack.
‘We are always ready for diplomacy. “We are also prepared to impose swift and dire consequences if Russia chooses to go to war,” Saki said in a statement. “And at present, Russia appears to be continuing to prepare for a full-scale attack on Ukraine very soon.”
In Kiev, life continued as normal for many, on a mild winter Sunday, with brunch and church services, what Biden said last weekend was an already planned Russian attack.
Katerina Spanchak, who fled a region in eastern Ukraine when it was occupied by Russian-allied separatists, crowded the capital’s St. Michael Monastery, smothered with candles lit by believers, To pray that Ukraine is spared.
“We all love life, and we are all united by the love of our lives,” said Spanchak, pausing to compose himself. “We should appreciate it every day. So I think everything will be fine.”
“Our joint prayers will help overcome this tragedy that is brewing ahead,” said another worshiper, who identified himself only by his first name, Oleh.
A US official said on Sunday that Biden’s claim that Putin had decided to engage Russian forces in Ukraine was based on intelligence that Russian front-line commanders had been ordered to begin final preparations for the attack. . The official spoke on condition of anonymity to describe the sensitive intelligence.
The United States and several European countries have accused for weeks that Putin has built up the forces necessary to invade Ukraine – a West-looking democracy that has sought to break out of Russia’s orbit and is now trying to invade. Trying to make excuses.
Western countries have threatened massive sanctions if Putin does.
After Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky enthusiastically called on the West on Saturday to do more, US officials on Sunday defended their decision to freeze Russia’s planned financial penalties ahead of any offensive.
“If you pull the trigger on that deterrent, well, it no longer exists as a deterrent,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told Fox on Washington’s threat of sanctions.
Russia on Saturday conducted nuclear drills as well as conventional exercises in Belarus, and there are ongoing naval exercises off the coast in the Black Sea.
The announcement that Russia was reversing its pledge to withdraw its forces from Belarus came after two days of continuous shelling along a contact line between Ukrainian troops and Russian-allied separatists in eastern Ukraine, an area that borders Ukraine. And may be the focus of the West’s concern. ignite the conflict.
Biden convenes the National Security Council at the White House on Russia’s military build-up around Ukraine. White House officials did not immediately release details of their nearly two-hour discussion.
“We are talking about the possibility of war in Europe,” US Vice President Kamala Harris said on Sunday at a security conference in Munich, Germany, which saw urgent consultations between world leaders on the crisis. “It’s been over 70 years, and during those 70 years… there has been peace and security.”
Zelensky appealed for a ceasefire on Twitter on Sunday. Russia has denied plans to invade, but the Kremlin did not respond to Zelensky’s offer to meet with Putin on Saturday.
After a call with Macron, Putin wrongly blamed Ukraine, according to observers there, for “pumping modern weapons and ammunition” into Ukraine for the contact line and increased firepower with NATO. . The Kremlin statement only mentioned a ceasefire in passage and made no mention of Zelensky’s call for the meeting.
Macron, a leader in European efforts for a peaceful settlement with Russia, also spoke separately to Zelensky, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Biden. Macron’s office said both Ukraine and Russian leaders have agreed to work towards a diplomatic solution “in the coming days and weeks”.
Blinken, the top United States diplomat, on Sunday renewed his offer this week to meet face-to-face with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on the condition that Putin has not invaded Ukraine by then.
“As of the last minute, they still have the option of backing out,” Blinken told NBC’s Meet the Press.
The US embassy in Moscow issued an advisory urging Americans in Russia to be more careful overall. “There are evacuation plans that do not rely on US government aid,” it warned.
Immediate concern focuses on eastern Ukraine, where Ukrainian forces have been fighting pro-Russian insurgents since 2014, killing some 14,000 people.
In the eastern Ukraine regions of Lugansk and Donetsk, separatist leaders have ordered a full military mobilization and sent more civilians to Russia, which has issued some 700,000 passports to residents of rebel-held areas. Claims that Russian civilians are being put in danger could be used as a justification for military action.
Authorities in separatist areas claimed that Ukrainian forces had carried out several artillery strikes in the past and two civilians were killed in an unsuccessful attack on a village near the Russian border. Ukraine’s military said on Saturday that two soldiers were killed in firing by the separatist side.
Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said: “When tensions are raised to the maximum, for example, on the line of contact, any spark, any unplanned incident or any minor planned provocation can lead to irreparable consequences.” said in an interview broadcast on Russian state television on Sunday.
On the front lines, Ukrainian troops said they had been ordered not to return fire. Zahara Leshushun, peeking into the distance with Periscope, followed the news all day from a ditch where he is stationed near the city of Xolot.
“Right now, we don’t respond to their fire because…” said the soldier as the sound of the incoming shells interrupted him. “Oh! They are shooting at us now. They are targeting the command post.