Ukraine news – live: Zelensky criticises West’s ‘panic’ as Russia moves military blood supplies to border

President Volodymyr Zelensky compares Ukraine situation to movie Don’t Look Up

Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky has criticised the West’s “panic” over the build up of over 100,000 Russian troops on its border, claiming it is destabilising the economy.

Mr Zelensky opposed warnings in Western media of an impending Russian invasion, echoing his comments made to Joe Biden, in which he questioned how “imminent” an attack might actually be.

Speaking to foreign reporters at a press conference on Friday, he said: “I’m the president of Ukraine, I’m based here and I think I know the details deeper than any other president.”

It comes as US sources told Reuters that Moscow has moved blood supplies to the Ukraine border alongside other medical reserves in support of the Russian troops amassed there.

Three current and former US officials said the accumulation of these supplies is critical in determining whether Mr Putin is prepared to carry out a potential invasion of Ukraine.


Boris Johnson to call Putin and ask Russia to ‘step back’ from Ukraine invasion

Boris Johnson will hold a call with Russian president Vladimir Putin in the coming days in a last-ditch bid to persuade Moscow to “step back” from an invasion of Ukraine (Adam Forrest writes).

The prime minister will also make a trip to the region in the coming days, The Independent understands, as he tries to ramp up a strategy of “deterrence” among Western allies.

Mr Johnson is also expected to consider a series of options from the UK’s top military officials this weekend – including fresh troop deployments and further bolstering of Nato’s defences.

A Downing Street spokeswoman said: “He will reiterate the need for Russia to step back and engage diplomatically when he speaks to president Putin this week.”

No 10 added: “The prime minister is determined to accelerate diplomatic efforts and ramp up deterrence to avoid bloodshed in Europe.”

Liam James28 January 2022 22:50


Zelenksy: Negotiations reduce ‘chance of escalation’

Volodymyr Zelensky said after his phone call with Emmanuel Macron today that intensive international negotiations reduced “the chance of escalation” in Ukraine’s stand-off with Russia.

“As long as conditions are conducive, we must meet & talk,” Mr Zelensky said in a tweet, adding that he agreed with the French president to keep up the pace of diplomatic talks.

Mr Macron’s office said in a statement that the preisdent had reaffirmed France’s “solidarity” with Ukraine in his phone call with Mr Zelensky.

Diplomats from Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany met on Wednesday in a revival of the so-called Normandy talks that took place amid conflict in the Donbas region of Ukraine in 2014.

It was agreed that they would meet again in two weeks. Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s foreign minister, said that the agreement meant a diplomatic route out of the current situation would remain open until then at least.

Liam James28 January 2022 21:50


Allies will work hard to ‘engage in dialogue with Russia’, says Nato Secretary General

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance will continue to offer a united front in the face of European tensions amid Russia’s “significant and unprovoked” military build-up on the Ukrainian border.

Speaking in an online discussion, hosted by the Atlantic Council, he said: “In a more unpredictable, more dangerous world it is even more important that NATO Allies stand together and build strong institutions like NATO.

“NATO is the foundation for peace and stability in this part of the world, and NATO will continue to work hard to engage in dialogue with Russia and find a political solution to the current tensions.”

Emily Atkinson28 January 2022 20:40


Taoiseach urges fishermen to stay safe ahead of Russian naval exercises

The Irish premier has said he would be worried for the safety of local fishermen, if they insisted on fishing near an area set to be the focus of Russian naval exercises.

The artillery drills are due to take place at the start of February in international waters but within Irish-controlled airspace and the country’s exclusive economic zone.

The planned drills have caused considerable upset and controversy in Ireland.

Dominic McGrath has the story:

Emily Atkinson28 January 2022 20:25


Poland says Russia-Ukraine tensions not seen in decades

Russian troop movements near Ukraine’s border that have ratcheted up fears of a potential invasion have complicated the international political scene to a degree not seen in decades, Poland’s president said Friday.

President Andrzej Duda said the situation is “difficult” and reminiscent of 1989 when Moscow-led communist rule collapsed in Central and Eastern Europe.

Duda said that the “security, sovereignty and freedom” of neighboring Ukraine and Belarus are of great, “strategic” importance to Warsaw.

Duda spoke after talks with top national security officials and political leaders at a National Security Council meeting to discuss heightened tensions along Russia’s border with Ukraine which has long sought to join Western political and military structures and alliances.

Before the meeting, Duda said there were “no direct military threats to Poland right now.”

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Friday that Moscow will not start a war in Ukraine but warned that it wouldn’t allow the West to trample on its security interests. Russia has amassed more than 100,000 Russian troops near Ukraine.

Emily Atkinson28 January 2022 20:05


Ukraine sends US senators four security requests amid tensions with Russia

Ukraine’s parliament has submitted four requests to US senators for security assistance and sanctions the country believes will discourage Russia from invading.

According to Axios, the four requests approved by President Volodymyr Zelensky’s administration are as follows:

  1. “Expedited and higher-impact security assistance, including air defence, anti-ship and anti-armour capabilities, and flexible loans and financing mechanisms.”
  2. “Immediate, mandatory sanctions” against the operator of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. The letter refers to the pipeline as “no less an existential threat to Ukraine’s security and democracy than the Russian troops on our border.”
  3. “A clear trigger” and lower threshold for sanctions against Russian actions.
  4. “Mandatory pre-trigger and post-trigger sanctions against all of Russia’s most significant financial institutions.”

Chairman Ruslan Stefanchuk wrote in the letter: “Ukraine speaks from centuries of experience. We understand Russia.

“We know what will and will not deter the occupants of the Kremlin.”

Emily Atkinson28 January 2022 19:50


US will ‘present the facts of the case’ against Russia to UN Security Council, officials say

The security council will meet on Monday in an open session at the request of US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield to discuss Russia’s deployment of more than 100,000 troops on its’ Eastern border with Ukraine, which Ms Thomas-Greenfield called “a matter of crucial importance to international peace and security” in a Thursday statement announcing the meeting.

Andrew Feinberg reports from Washington.

Emily Atkinson28 January 2022 19:25


Pentagon Chief says ‘conflict is not inevitable’ in Ukraine

Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin told reporters on Friday that conflict was “not inevitable” in Ukraine and there was still a potential for a diplomatic solution, writes Eric Garcia.

Mr Austin told reporters that the Pentagon does not believe that Mr Putin has made a final decision to use military force against Ukraine, he has the capability to do so.

“And there are multiple options available to him, including the seizure of cities and the significant territories, but also coercive acts or provocative political acts like the recogition of breakaway territories,” he said.

He also decried Russian state media reports about alleged activities in Ukraine, calling it “straight out of the Russian playbook.”

Mr Austin said the United States was focused on the creation of pre-text for an invasion, something that has worried the United States.

The United States has said that Russia has already pre-positioned operatives to conduct a “false flag“ operation as a pre-text for invading Ukraine.

At the same time, Mr Austin said diplomacy was a preferred solution.“Conflict is not inevitable. There is still time and space for diplomacy.

The United States in lockstep with our allies and partners has offered Russia a path away from crisis and toward greater security.”

Emily Atkinson28 January 2022 19:10


Letters: To threaten war as lightly as the US, Nato and the UK are doing is highly irresponsible

I refer to the excellent and well-balanced article by Mary Dejevsky (Germany has taken a cautious stance on Russia – and will be on the right side of history, 28 January), writes one of our readers.

In hysterical times like ours it would serve us well to take a step back and evaluate the facts as best we can. To threaten war as lightly as America, Nato and the UK do is highly irresponsible and serves no purpose other than to escalate what should be resolved politically.

Emily Atkinson28 January 2022 18:50


Why does Russia want to block Ukraine from joining NATO?

Tensions continue to mount along Russia’s border with Ukraine, where Moscow has been building up its military presence, estimated to amount to around 106,000 soldiers.

Russian president Vladimir Putin has denied he has any intention of invading the neighbouring state but has presented the West with a series of demands, including an end to the eastern expansion of Nato membership to ex-Soviet states and the curtailment of US and Nato military activity on Russia’s doorstep.

Nato has said it is sending additional ships and fighter jets to its deployments in eastern Europe, while the US and UK are withdrawing diplomats’ families from Ukraine.

Emily Atkinson28 January 2022 18:25


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