The situation around Donbas is escalating as Russia is increasing its military presence along Ukraine’s border. Here are regular updates.
– The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is reinforcing its presence in the Eastern European countries, members of the Alliance. These measures are aimed at strengthening defense against the troops of the Russian Federation near the Ukrainian border. This is reported by UA with reference to NATO website.
– The United Kingdom is withdrawing some embassy staff and their family members from Ukraine, according to a statement posted on the UK government’s website. “Some Embassy staff and dependants are being withdrawn from Kyiv in response to growing threat from Russia. The British Embassy remains open and will continue to carry out essential work,” the statement said.
– Borrell was asked whether the EU intends to start evacuating the families of its diplomats from Ukraine, following the example of the United States, and whether this does not mean that the war is imminent. EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell told this to journalists ahead of a meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels on Monday, January 24, according to an Ukrinform correspondent.
– The U.S. Department of State on January 24 authorized the voluntary departure (“authorized departure”) of U.S. government employees and ordered the departure of family members (“ordered departure”) of U.S. government employees at the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, effective immediately. A respective statement has been published on the website of the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, Ukrinform reports.
– “Ukraine has initiated a defensive strategy for the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, one of the most radioactive places on Earth, which lies on the shortest path between Russia and Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv” – Andrew E. Kramer wrote for The New York Times.
– The UK foreign office said in a Saturday statement it has information that the Russian government is planning to “install a pro-Russian leader in Kyiv as it considers whether to invade and occupy Ukraine.” “The former Ukrainian MP Yevhen Murayev is being considered as a potential candidate,” the British Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said. Murayev told CNN Saturday “there is nothing to comment on” regarding the allegations, as he is a Ukrainian national and still facing Russian sanctions.
– The U.S. administration has informed Congress of its intention to provide Ukraine with five Mi-17 helicopters, White House Spokesperson Jen Psaki has said. “On January 19, the Department notified Congress of its intent to deliver five Mi-17 helicopters currently held in DoD inventories to Ukraine under the Excess Defense Articles program,” the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine said, citing Psaki.
– Germany is blocking North Atlantic Treaty Organization ally Estonia from giving military support to Ukraine by refusing to issue permits for German-origin weapons to be exported to Kyiv as it braces for a potential Russian invasion. Unlike the U.S., Britain, Poland and other allies, the German government has declined to export lethal weapons directly to Ukraine.
– “Over the past weeks, Moscow has issued a series of ultimatums. They boil down to two demands: The Kremlin wants to change the international security order and subordinate neighboring countries to its whim. It insists that NATO must drop its policy of accepting anyone who wishes to join, contradicting the whole idea of the alliance. Note that Moscow is directing all of these demands toward the United States, not Ukraine. Ukraine has essentially been stripped of any agency in discussions about its own future. And yet it is seemingly expected to fight to defend itself on its own. Support for NATO membership is growing in Ukraine – the paradox of Russia attacking Ukraine for seeking to improve its own security is not lost on anyone – but no one expects NATO boots on the ground at any point in the near future” – Nataliya Gumenyuk wrote for The Washington Post.
– US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, following talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, said that the Ukrainian people have the right to choose their own future. The US Secretary of State added that Ukraine has the right to make its own decision on joining NATO. Western partners believe that there is no room for bargaining with Russia on this issue. This is reported by UA with reference to the press conference of Anthony Blinken.
– Against the backdrop of the concentration of Russian military forces near the Ukrainian borders, Ukraine must mobilize both internal efforts to strengthen its defense capabilities and strengthen external diplomatic and partnership ties. Stefan Füle, European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy (2010-2014), spoke about this in the “Top Show” program of the UA TV channel.
– The Government of Canada has offered to provide a loan of up to CAD 120 million to support the economic stability and development of Ukraine, Interfax writes.
– Russia may try to seize some Ukrainian territories under the pretext of “protecting” the Russian-speaking population, in particular Kharkiv, which “will be the beginning of a large-scale war,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said. According to Ukrinform, he said this in an interview with The Washington Post.
– Estonia has appealed to Germany for approval of deliveries to Ukraine of a 122-mm howitzer manufactured in Germany, Deutsche Welle has reported, citing a spokesman for the German Ministry of Defense. This was reported by UA with reference to Interfax.
– President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that in the case of a further Russian invasion, not only Ukraine, but also neighboring countries would suffer. We should also expect a migration crisis. This is reported by UA with reference to the President’s interview with The Washington Post. “If we are going to defend against one of the most powerful armies in the world, it will be war. And if it is a war, then it will be a very strong war, and everyone will lose” – the President stressed.
– Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has warned Russia that invading Ukraine would lead to a terrible loss of life like the Soviet takeover of Afghanistan. That’s according to the BBC, Ukrinform reports. In a speech in Sydney on Friday, Truss accused Russia of wanting to recreate the Soviet Union – and urged President Vladimir Putin to step back.
– Putin is going for broke right now because he has publicly revealed all his long-term goals—including scaling back NATO presence in Eastern Europe and returning Ukraine back under the umbrella of Russian influence. The buildup of troops signals a threat to Ukrainian sovereignty and makes the West worry about an impending war. The United States and European allies have thus been impelled to ask, “What can we do to prevent a war from breaking out?” This was stated by Paul Gregory, a Hoover Institution research fellow and Cullen Professor Emeritus in the department of economics at the University of Houston.
– Washington has recently provided the largest assistance to Ukraine, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said. “We’ve also provided more assistance to Ukraine than any year in history, including defense assistance,” Psaki said at a press conference on Thursday.
– Today, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned four individuals engaged in Russian government-directed influence activities to destabilize Ukraine. This is the latest action we have taken to target purveyors of Russian disinformation, including designations in April 2021. The individuals designated today act at the direction of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), an intelligence service sanctioned by the United States, and support Russia-directed influence operations against the United States and its allies and partners. The four individuals have played various roles in Russia’s global influence campaign to destabilize sovereign countries in support of the Kremlin’s political objectives. The United States will continue to take steps, through actions like this one, and in partnership with the Ukrainian government, to identify, expose, and undercut Russia’s destabilization efforts. That’s according to the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s website.
– The Department of State, working with the U.S. interagency, is aware of several Russian military and intelligence entities that are engaged in information confrontation targeting Ukraine. These activities include the spread of disinformation and propaganda attempting to paint Ukraine and Ukrainian government officials as the aggressor in the Russia-Ukraine relationship. Such measures are intended to influence Western countries into believing Ukraine’s behavior could provoke a global conflict and convince Russian citizens of the need for Russian military action in Ukraine. The Department of State gives examples of Russian lies about the current crisis and its causes – and the truth.
– The head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said that in the event of further Russian invasion of Ukraine, the EU would impose sanctions against the Russian Federation. Ursula von der Leyen stressed that Europe will do everything to prevent further aggression against Ukraine and other states of the continent. This is reported by UA with reference to her statement during the World Economic Forum in Davos.
– Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba believes that Russian President Vladimir Putin is intimidating the whole world, and now he himself does not know whether he will invade Ukraine. This is reported by UA with reference to the minister’s briefing.
– Troops and equipment of the Russian Federation arrive in the regions of Belarus near the border with Ukraine. In particular, the Russian Uragan multiple launch rocket systems were found in the immediate vicinity of the border with Kyiv region. Their location was confirmed by experts from a group that investigates military conflicts. UA reports.
– Andriy Yermak stressed that the Ukrainian services, together with international partners, are closely monitoring the developments near the borders of Ukraine, and the authorities have complete and objective information about the situation. This is reported by UA with reference to the Office of the President.
– President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky on Wednesday had a phone call with Prime Minister of Sweden Magdalena Andersson. The president briefed his interlocutor on the security situation around Ukraine, as well as on the steps being taken to achieve peace within all available negotiation formats. That’s according to the President’s press service.
– The U.S. State Department has cleared Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia to send U.S.-made missiles and other weapons to Ukraine, three sources familiar with the decision said, as President Joe Biden predicted Russia would move on Ukraine. This is reported by UA with reference to Reuters.
– U.S. President Joe Biden has said that it would be a “disaster” for Russia if it launches a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. “I think what you’re going to see is that Russia will be held accountable if it invades. And it depends on what it does,” Biden said. He noted that a “minor incursion” by Russia would provoke less reaction. However, according to him, if Russia actually does “what they’re capable of doing with the forces amassed on the border, it is going to be a disaster for Russia.” In particular, Russian banks will not be able to deal in U.S. dollars. In addition, Biden made clear that the United States does not rule out the introduction of restrictions against Russia’s energy sector.
– Russia will need a million troops to plan a full-scale land operation, while now it has amassed about 127,000 service members on the border with Ukraine. “To date, the total number of Russian troops on the border with Ukraine is approximately 127,000 service members, including the ground component of 106,000 members with appropriate fire, strike, and maneuver capabilities. There are some movements of troops, but they are not critical so far,” Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine Oleksiy Danilov told LIGA.net
– The European Union, the United States, NATO and the OSCE have held the first quadrilateral call to coordinate their positions in the context of responding to European security challenges posed by Russia’s military build-up around Ukraine. That’s according to a statement published on the website of the European External Action Service on Wednesday, January 19
– Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba held the first telephone conversation with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister for Women of Australia Maris Payne, during which the parties discussed a package to deter the Russian Federation from further aggression against Ukraine, including a political, economic and security component. This is reported by UA with reference to the press service of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine.
– Head of the Office of the President Andriy Yermak called the meeting with US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken good and substantive. He stated this today, January 19th, at a briefing in Kiev, the correspondent of the UA TV channel reports.
– US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken named the reason for his working visit to Ukraine. According to him, US President Joe Biden asked for confirmation of the support of Ukraine by the United States. This was reported by UA with reference to a joint briefing by Anthony Blinken and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba.
– Ukraine and the Netherlands discussed cooperation in the fields of security and European integration. “Ihor Zhovkva informed the interlocutor about the current security situation in Donbas and the growing military presence of the Russian Federation along the borders of Ukraine. He stressed the importance of a decisive and coordinated position of the international community, especially the EU and NATO, in support of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and noted the firm position of the Netherlands on this issue” – said in a statement.
– Today, January 19, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba had a telephone conversation with EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell regarding the security situation around Ukraine. This is reported by UA with reference to the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
– “Spoke to President Zelensky to express NATO’s strong support to Ukraine in face of Russia threat. Allies call on Russia to de-escalate immediately. We’re ready to engage in further dialogue with Russia but won’t compromise on key principles,” Jens Stoltenberg writes on Twitter.
– Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will destabilize the entire world. This opinion was voiced by the French intellectual, philosopher, writer and political journalist Bernard-Henri Levy during a discussion on European security called “SOS – Ukraine”. If Putin still decides to attack Ukraine, it will be an attack on the whole of Europe, sow chaos in the West, and the United States will be isolated, Levy considers. The journalist urges Europe and the United States to take the Kremlin’s threats seriously, since this is precisely the scenario that comes from public statements by Russian officials. According to him, it is impossible to turn a blind eye in this situation, since in Russia’s ultimatums a probable operation against Ukraine is considered only as a first step. “I read the statements of Russians. Few days ago, few weeks ago, end of December, when Russians delivered an ultimatum to the NATO. We had the statement of the deputy foreign minister of Russia, who said that if the NATO did not accept the ultimatum, there will be military retaliation,” Bernard-Henri Levy said.
– If the actions of the Russian authorities in their aggression against Ukraine go with impunity, this will untie the hands of other autocracies around the world, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said. According to Ukrinform, he said this on the Pod Save America podcast.
– Ukraine has the right to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity, and NATO supports that right. This was stated by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg during a press conference in Berlin following talks with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, an Ukrinform correspondent reports.
– Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has invited Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Russian President Vladimir Putin to meet in Turkey to discuss differences and resolve problems. That’s according to Erdogan’s spokesman, Ibrahim Kalin, who spoke during a discussion at the Circle Foundation think tank, according to the TRT Haber news outlet, Ukrinform writes
– Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called a new Russian invasion of Ukraine unlikely. At the same time, he said he wanted to discuss the situation with Russian President Vladimir Putin. He said this at a press conference during a visit to Albania on January 18, UA reports with reference to Anadolu.
– The head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell, is concerned about the situation related to certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions that are not controlled by Ukraine. In his opinion, there is a threat of their actual accession to Russia. It is reported by UA with links to Ukrinform.
– “We continue to work on the preparation of sanctions in the event of an invasion. Although our intelligence data suggests that the possibility of a massive attack on Ukraine is not the most likely scenario. At the same time, other types of attacks are also used, for example, cyber attacks on the websites of the Ukrainian authorities” – Borrell stressed. This opinion was voiced by EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell during a meeting of the European Parliament Commission on Foreign Affairs, informs UA.
– Richard Blumenthal, US Senator from Connecticut, spoke about how the United States supports Ukraine. The senator expressed his view that the West should impose sanctions against Putin because the Russian leader understands only the language of force. He stressed that the American people support our country, understanding that Ukraine is fighting for its independence and freedom.
– U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will travel to Kyiv and Berlin from January 18-20, 2022, as part of the diplomatic efforts to de-escalate the tension caused by Russia’s military build-up and continued aggression against Ukraine. That’s according to the State Department press service.
– Canada and the United Kingdom have assured Ukraine that they will not respond to Putin’s ultimatums to withdraw military training units from the country. Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine Olga Stefanishyna said this on the air of ICTV channel, an Ukrinform correspondent reported.
– The Defence Secretary has given a statement to the House of Commons on the situation in Ukraine. “The Ukrainians are not seeking confrontation, despite the illegal annexation of their lands in Crimea and the occupation of Donbas. I am sure ordinary Russian people who remember the first Chechnya conflict and other older conflicts don’t want yet another quagmire either,” the statement said.
– A new Op-Ed by Alyona Getmanchuk, Director of the New Europe Center written for The New York Times on the Ukraine’s perspective on the international negotiations on Ukraine and the asks of Ukraine for the West in face of Putin’s military build-up.
– The United States and other Western countries must stop Russian President Vladimir Putin from recreating the Soviet Union in one form or another. This was stated by Senator Mitt Romney on NBC, UA writes with reference to Politico.
– The possibility of a Russian invasion of Ukraine is more likely than not. This opinion was expressed by the Special Representative of the US State Department for Ukraine (2017-2019) Kurt Volker. This is reported by UA with reference to an interview of the SkyNews with Volker.
– In a phone call with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken discussed the situation around Ukraine against the background of Russian aggression. This is laid down in a statement by U.S. State Department Spokesman Ned Price, Ukrinform reports with reference to the Voice of America.– Ukraine wants the Allies to make appropriate moves in the political dimension in order to deprive the Russian Federation of the opportunity to launch a new offensive. The corresponding statement in an interview with Ukrinform was made by the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Valeriy Zaluzhnyy, UA writes.
– The Normandy process began to falter in the fall of 2015, immediately after Russia carried out a large-scale military intervention in Syria. This was stated in an interview with Ukrinform by Andriy Melnyk, Ambassador of Ukraine to Germany, UA reports.
– Germany and Europe are ready to seek compromises in resolving the Ukrainian crisis, but they are not ready to compromise on core security principles, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has said. She said this before her visit to Kyiv on January 17 and to Moscow on January 18, Ukrinform reports.
– Denmark will allocate additional EUR 22 million for strengthening Ukraine’s security sector. “Thank you, dear friend Jeppe Kofod, for your timely visit proving Denmark’s solidarity with Ukraine in the time of Russia’s unprovoked and unacceptable threats. The decision to allocate additional €22 mln for strengthening Ukraine’s security sector is an act of true friendship,” Foreign Minister of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba posted on Twitter on January 16.
Thank you, dear friend @JeppeKofod, for your timely visit proving Denmark’s solidarity with Ukraine in the time of Russia’s unprovoked and unacceptable threats. The decision to allocate additional €22 mln for strengthening Ukraine’s security sector is an act of true friendship. https://t.co/TlTl7ZkdC2— Dmytro Kuleba (@DmytroKuleba) January 16, 2022
– According to The Washington Post, russian forces near Ukraine total at most 60 battalion tactical groups (BTGs), along with support elements. BTGs are task-organized combined-arms formations, each averaging 800 personnel in size. This translates into roughly 48,000 troops. Adding the supporting units, the total number of Russian troops is likely to be 85,000 — with more on the way. Aside from these regular Russian troops, there are about 15,000 separatist forces, or Russian-led formations in Ukraine’s Donbas region. Media outlets are reporting around 100,000 troops in total, but estimates vary widely. This means approximately 35 percent of Russia’s total available BTG formations (60 out of 168) are stationed near the Ukrainian border, plus additional aerospace forces and naval units in the area. The forces deployed within approximately 125-200 miles of the Ukrainian border fall into two categories. Divisions and brigades permanently stationed in the area figure substantially into the total but come at no added cost or disruption. These account for about half of the number of battalion tactical groups and most of the supporting ground troops in the area. A second set of forces are units that have been temporarily deployed near Ukraine’s border from formations elsewhere in Russia. These include armies based in Russia’s North Caucasus, units based outside of Moscow, those in the St. Petersburg regions, and units based far away in Russia’s central regions and even the Russian Far East.
Dmitry Gorenburg (@russmil) and I wrote an article for WaPo outlining what we think we know about the Russian military buildup. I'm going to summarize the content here. Long thread. /1— Michael Kofman (@KofmanMichael) January 15, 2022
– Kyiv believes a hacker group linked to Belarusian intelligence carried out a cyberattack that hit Ukrainian government websites this week and used malware similar to that used by a group tied to Russian intelligence. Serhiy Demedyuk, deputy secretary of the national security and defence council, told Reuters that Ukraine blamed Friday’s attack – which defaced government websites with threatening messages – on a group known as UNC1151 and that it was cover for more destructive actions behind the scenes. “The defacement of the sites was just a cover for more destructive actions that were taking place behind the scenes and the consequences of which we will feel in the near future,” Demedyuk said.
– After the informal discussions of the Foreign and Defence Ministers of the EU Member States this week in Brest (France), the EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy and Vice President of the European Commission Josep Borrell spoke to US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken on Saturday. They discussed Russia’s military build-up around Ukraine and briefed each other about latest diplomatic engagements around Russia’s attempts to re-define security arrangements in Europe. High Representative Borrell and Secretary Blinken rejected Russian initiative to re-build spheres of influence in Europe and underlined their determination to continue intense consultations on this and other issues between the US and EU – presenting a strong, clear and united transatlantic front.
– Foreign Minister of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba, following the results of an informal meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the European Union countries, thanked the partners for their strong support of Ukraine.
“I greatly appreciate resolute support for Ukraine at the EU Gymnich Foreign Affairs Council. The EU is unanimous: Ukraine’s security is the security of the entire Europe. We keep working closely with our partners to prevent, deter and demotivate Russia from further aggression,” Kuleba wrote on Twitter.
I greatly appreciate resolute support for Ukraine at the EU Gymnich Foreign Affairs Council. The EU is unanimous: Ukraine’s security is the security of the entire Europe. We keep working closely with our partners to prevent, deter and demotivate Russia from further aggression.— Dmytro Kuleba (@DmytroKuleba) January 15, 2022
– The U.S. government has held talks with several international energy companies on contingency plans for supplying natural gas to Europe if conflict between Russia and Ukraine disrupts Russian supplies, two U.S. officials and two industry sources told Reuters on Friday.
– The negotiations stalled. This is how the majority of international experts evaluate the results of the January NATO-US-Russia meetings. Meanwhile, the Kremlin does not want to hear anyone and continues speaking with the international community by ‘the language of blackmail and ultimatums’. They state in Moscow that if the United States imposes new sanctions against Russia, they are ready to cease any negotiations.
– We believe this is a time for diplomacy and dialogue, though as President Biden and Secretary Blinken have made clear, we are prepared with our partners and allies to impose massive and unprecedented new costs if Russia escalates the situation militarily in Ukraine. This was stated on Thursday during Online Press Briefing by Ambassador Michael Carpenter, U.S. Permanent Representative to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.
– Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III spoke with his Ukrainian counterpart, Minister of Defence Oleksii Reznikov, to discuss Russia’s ongoing and unprovoked military build-up in and around Ukraine.
– The threat of a Russian military invasion of Ukraine is “high” as Putin could pursue with the move under any pretext or even without any but the United States and its allies are ready for any scenarios. This was stated on Thursday during a White House briefing by U.S. President’s National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, an Ukrinform correspondent reports.
– President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyу held a telephone conversation with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday, January 13. “Had a fruitful conversation with Boris Johnson. We discussed the security situation around Ukraine,” the Ukrainian leader wrote on his Twitter page.
– The goal of Russian President Vladimir Putin is not only the absorption of Ukraine. Its main geopolitical goal is the destruction of NATO, the disintegration of the European Union and the displacement of the US presence in Europe. This opinion was expressed by Hryhoriy Perepelytsia, director of the Institute for Foreign Policy Research, professor of Taras Shevchenko Kyiv National University on the air of UA, international broadcasting of Ukraine.
– The United States and European countries must take action and impose sanctions on Russia, strengthen NATO allies and increase aid to Ukraine, and then continue the dialogue with the Kremlin. Kurt Volker, former U.S. Ambassador to NATO and former U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations, said this in an interview with Ukrinform.
– The head of EU diplomacy, Josep Borrell, commenting on the negotiations between the US and NATO with Russia regarding its “security guarantees”, said that the proposal of the Russian Federation on non-expansion of NATO is unacceptable to all members of the European Union. This is reported by UA with reference to a briefing by Josep Borrell.
– Europe is now closer to war than at any time in the last 30 years. This opinion was expressed by Polish Foreign Minister and head of the OSCE Zbigniew Rau at the opening of the OSCE Permanent Council. This is reported by UA with reference to Reuters.
– “Our group has now recommended supplying more weapons to Ukraine, weapons that pose a danger to Russian troops in Ukraine. Similarly, NATO should now send military equipment to the East, to the Baltic countries and Poland. That is, even before a possible Russian invasion into Ukraine. In our opinion, then it will be more dangerous for Putin to send his troops to Ukraine. But, unfortunately, so far the [Biden] Administration has not accepted our recommendation” – Herbst said on the air of UA, international broadcasting of Ukraine.
– With the threat of a full-scale invasion into Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin is trying to force the US, NATO, the EU and Ukraine itself to make concessions. This opinion was expressed by the Director of the Eurasian Center at the Atlantic Council (USA), US Ambassador to Ukraine (2003-2006) John Herbst on the air of UA, international broadcasting of Ukraine. “His hybrid war in Donbas is not reaching his goal. And so he tries to achieve this goal in a different way” – the diplomat believes.
– On Wednesday, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Robert Menendez, along with 25 other Democrats, presented a draft Defending Ukraine Sovereignty Act 2022, which provides for new sanctions against Russia and additional support for Ukraine. “As the Kremlin continues to engage in an unjustified military build-up along Ukraine’s border, the proposal by Senate Democrats to deter a military escalation sends a clear message that the United States is prepared to impose devastating consequences for Putin and the Russian economy if he goes down the path of re-invading Ukraine,” the statement said.
– Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba and his Canadian counterpart Melanie Joly have discussed steps to deter Russia from its further aggression, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has said, Ukrinform reports. “Dmytro Kuleba and Melanie Joly have discussed steps to deter Russia from a new wave of aggression in Europe, including the implementation of a painful comprehensive deterrence package for Moscow, which includes political, economic and security measures,” the statement said.
– Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba had a telephone conversation with newly appointed Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands Wopke Hoekstra as part of consolidating international support for Ukraine and deterring Russian aggression, Ukrinform reports. The chief Ukrainian and Dutch diplomats coordinated their positions against the background of ongoing diplomatic contacts with Russia in Europe. The ministers pointed out the unacceptability of Russia’s demands to influence the further nature of Ukraine’s relations with NATO and the EU.
– Respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations is one of the key principles of European security, therefore NATO calls on Russia to withdraw its troops from Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova, where they are uninvited and not welcomed. This was stated by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who spoke at a press conference following a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council in Brussels, Ukrinform reports.
– Russia has not committed to de-escalate on the Ukrainian border after two rounds of diplomatic talks this week, Deputy US Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said Wednesday, as the US acknowledged it’s still unclear whether Moscow intends to use the talks this week as a pretext to claim that diplomacy cannot work, CNN reports. Sherman told reporters that Wednesday’s meeting between NATO and Russia ended with a “sober challenge from the NATO allies to Russia” to respond to the opportunities offered by the international community to de-escalate the situation on the border with Ukraine and choose the path of diplomacy.
– Germany, together with the EU, NATO, and American partners, is making sure that “all dialogue formats are used to restore security in Europe”. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said this during the “questions & answers hour” in the Bundestag on Wednesday, January 12.
– NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that during the talks in Brussels on January 12, there was a serious discussion about Ukraine. “We have stated very clearly that the use of force against Ukraine would be a serious strategic mistake and this would be accompanied by a very high price for Russia” – Stoltenberg stressed.
– “Russia has created this crisis out of whole cloth and will have to justify to its people why it is stoking a potentially very bloody and costly conflict for Russia, rather than focusing on its own citizens’ health and on Russia’s own significant challenges in building back better”, Viktoria Nuland said on Twitter.
– “The NATO–Russia Council had a serious exchange on Russia’s military build-up in and around Ukraine and implications for European security. NATO Allies and Russia agreed to explore a schedule of future meetings. Allies are ready to table proposals and seek constructive outcomes,” Secretary General writes on Twitter.
– US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman’s briefing on the NATO – Russia Council meeting
– Secretary-General of the European External Action Service Stefano Sannino and U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman at a meeting in Brussels reaffirmed the coordination of efforts to respond to Russia’s new aggression against Ukraine.
– Russia is threatening Ukraine and putting into question Europe’s security architecture. This was stated by the head of diplomacy of the European Union Josep Borrell in his blog. “The ambition of the Russian authorities is to challenge the political and security order born after the Cold War. Moscow wants to go back on the NATO-Russia founding act of 1997, which accompanied NATO’s enlargement to Central and Eastern Europe; the Paris Charter of 1990, which codified the principles for European security after the end of the Cold War”, noted Borrell.
– Negotiations between Russia and the United States can only be successful “in a climate of de-escalation” and Moscow has to take steps to this end. This was stated by U.S. State Department Spokesperson Ned Price, who spoke at a briefing on Tuesday. Price noted that de-escalation would mean Russian “troops returning to their barracks” and heavy weaponry returning to its regular storage locations.”
– U.S. Secretary of State Antony Bliknen assured his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba. This is stated in an official statement of the U.S. Department of State, released on Tuesday following a phone call of the two top diplomats
– Any Russian military invasion of Ukraine would be a huge strategic mistake with serious consequences, British Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss told ВВС in an interview.
– Russia has begun to move military helicopters to its borders with Ukraine. This could mean continuing to plan an attack on our territories. This is how the American edition of The New York Times assessed the possibility of a new invasion of Ukraine by the aggressor country. At the same time, it is noted that the pulling-in of troops has slowed down somewhat and now their number remains stable, despite the forecasts of the American intelligence about the growth. Reportedly, 100,000 Russian servicemen are still stationed near the Ukrainian borders. This number was announced at a briefing on January 10 by the representative of the United States Department of State Ned Price.
– The threat of military escalation is real, and the Kremlin is already waging an information war. The Russian government says it wants peace, but its past and present actions show the opposite, SPRAVDI informs.
– Russian President Vladimir Putin seeks to maintain influence in the post-Soviet space. This opinion was expressed by former State Duma deputy Ilya Ponomarev on the air of the program “Ukraine in fact” on UA TV channel. “For Putin, it makes sense to seize the same Belarus, to act aggressively and harshly in Kazakhstan, against Ukraine, and so on. But they also need to somehow explain to their own citizens, where relatives live, on what grounds Russia will deploy troops and take other actions. That’s why: “You know, an aggressive bloc, the enemy is at the gate, we are threatened, we are just defending ourselves, we are only responding to actions that we are not doing at all” – he said.
– U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said that after meeting with Russian counterparts in Geneva, she could not say whether Russia was ready to de-escalate tensions near Ukraine’s borders. The official spoke about this during a telephone press conference following the meeting, Ukrinform‘s own correspondent reports. “I don’t think we know the answer to that,” the deputy head of the U.S. State Department said when asked if the U.S. delegation had seen signs of Russia’s readiness to de-escalate the situation on the Ukrainian border.
– Foreign and security policy adviser to the German Chancellor Jens Plötner and diplomatic adviser to the President of France Emmanuel Bonn visited Kyiv in accordance with previous agreements reached during a video conference on January 4 this year, following talks in Moscow as part of the Normandy dialogue, the Office of the President of Ukraine reports.
– In late December, the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden quietly authorized the allocation of additional security assistance to Ukraine in the amount of $200 million, according to CNN, citing informed sources. “The security package authorized the shipment of much of the same defensive equipment the United States has provided in the past, including small arms and ammunition, secure radios, medical equipment, spare parts and other equipment,” the CNN publication said. It is clarified that the package was authorized just weeks before the United States and Russia were set to begin this week’s talks.
– The US – Russia security talks kicked off in Geneva. The United States delegation is headed by the US deputy secretary of state Wendy Sherman. The Russian side delegate is deputy Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation Sergei Ryabkov and Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Fomin. After today’s talks, on January 12, a meeting of the Russia-NATO Council is scheduled in Brussels, and on January 13 – the permanent representatives of the OSCE countries in Vienna.
– Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly says the possibility of supplying weapons to Ukraine amid the build-up of Russian troops near the Ukrainian border cannot be ruled out.
– The joint task of Ukraine and NATO is to ensure de-escalation on the Ukrainian-Russian border, Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine Olha Stefanishyna said, following a meeting with representatives of the North Atlantic Alliance.
Our joint urgent task is to ensure de-escalation on the Ukrainian-Russian border. The price for further aggression must be extremely high.— Olga Stefanishyna (@StefanishynaO) January 10, 2022
At the Ukraine-NATO Commission stressed that a comprehensive deterrence package should be on the table, including painful sanctions.
– In order to prevent external military intervention, as in Kazakhstan, Ukraine develops internal resilience, fights against Russian aggression and maintains international unity in condemning the illegal actions of the Russian Federation. This was stated by the Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine for European Integration Olga Stefanishina. “We are not part of any post-Soviet structures that, as in the case of Kazakhstan, allowed external military intervention on their territory and the seizure of critical infrastructure,” the government official said.
– Negotiations on the withdrawal of Russian troops from the borders of Ukraine and strategic stability in Europe started in Geneva at the US Mission to the UN. The meeting in the USA-RF format is underway. The American side emphasized that only issues of bilateral relations are being discussed, and the topic of European security is not touched upon.
– A lieutenant colonel with top-level Kremlin links, a spy-catcher, and a Big Data specialist – the identities of eight Russians recently expelled by Nato from Brussels give clues to why Moscow reacted so harshly and what its operatives were doing. The eight Russian diplomat-spies were Sergei Chesnokov, Oleg Demekhin, Vasily Epishkin, Dmitry Filippenok, Igor Kovalev, Nadezhda Obukhova, Alexander Smushko, and Stanislav Telegin, according to information obtained in a joint investigation by the Dossier Center, a London-based NGO, and EUobserver.
– Putin demands the U.S., NATO & the EU to accept Russia’s sphere of influence over sovereign neighboring states. But the Cold War is over, and so are spheres of influence. Putin’s demands are illegitimate and harmful to international peace and security, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba reported on Twitter.
– The EU has recognized that Moscow is a party to the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine.
– Senior U.S. officials have gone so far as to say they expect Russia to lie about the content of Monday’s, 10 January, meeting to try to stoke divisions. “We fully expect that the Russian side will make public comments following the meeting on Monday that will not reflect the true nature of the discussions that took place,” said one senior U.S. official who will participate in the talks. The official was not authorized to speak publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
– Currently, Russian troops are surrounding Ukraine on three sides, and Western officials fear that a military operation may begin this month.
– In anticipation of negotiations between the United States, its allies and Russia, the American media are publishing lists of possible sanctions that could be imposed on Russia in the event of a Russian invasion of Ukraine. Sectoral and personal sanctions are already in force against Russia. At the same time, the US administration refrained, for example, from tough sanctions against the Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline. Sanctions against Russia will not be imposed on the condition that the Russian Federation renounces aggression.
– There is an opinion among American diplomats that the negotiations in Geneva and the subsequent negotiations in the Russia-NATO Council and the OSCE may end in vain. Such a scenario is possible – Russia will blame the Western countries for their failure and move to military operations against Ukraine under the pretext of ensuring its security. “No one should be surprised if Russia arranges a provocation or incident and then tries to use it to justify military intervention,” said US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken.
– A source in the Biden administration reports that the United States of America does not want to discuss with Moscow restrictions on the deployment of US troops on the eastern flank of NATO. The United States and its allies are ready to discuss in negotiations with Russia the possibility of imposing restrictions on each side of military exercises and the deployment of missiles in the region.
– The United States is working with NATO alliance members to arrange for the delivery of Stinger shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles to Ukraine. “Ukrainian officials believe the Stinger surface-to-air missiles would help its military defend the country against low-flying Russian helicopters and drones,” the publication said.
– Secretary of State Anthony J. Blinken spoke January 8 with EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell. Secretary of State Blinken stressed the importance of coordinating actions in support of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and reiterated that any further Russian aggression against Ukraine would lead to a tough response.
– Volodymyr Zelenskyy expressed gratitude to Senators Chuck Schumer and Ted Cruz for putting to a vote the question of stopping Nord Stream 2.
“Ukraine asks asks all its friends in the US Senate to support the European Energy Security”, Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Twitter.
– Columnist Julia Davis tweeted that Russia is demanding the lifting of security guarantees for much of Eastern Europe.
“That’s like the fox saying it had to attack the hen house because its occupants somehow pose a threat. We’ve seen this gaslighting before,” Davis noted, referring to Blinken’s words about Russia’s seizure of Crimea in 2014 and support for separatists in Donbas.
– U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken provided an update on NATO’s North Atlantic Council coordinated response to Russia’s military buildup along the Ukraine border and increasingly sharp threats and inflammatory rhetoric.
– Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said that solidarity with Ukraine reigns in the Alliance.
“US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken has called back following a NATO ministerial meeting, saying the good news is that there is solidarity with Ukraine in the Alliance. We agreed in detail on the positions of Ukraine and the United States on the eve of talks with Russia in various formats, discussed the bilateral agenda”, Kuleba reported on Twitter.
Blinken also noted to his Ukrainian counterpart in yet another call to Kyiv today that there will be “no conversations about Ukraine without Ukraine” when negotiating with Russia, as its military forces continue to mass around the country.
– The 30 members of NATO are united against Russiаn military threats against Ukraine, the US mission to the alliance said on January 7 after a videoconference of alliance foreign ministers.
– Press Secretary of the US State Department Ned Price announced his intentions to strengthen the position in the event of a military escalation of Russia against Ukraine.
“In fact, we have been clear with Russia, publicly and privately, that should Russia further invade Ukraine we would reinforce our NATO partners on the eastern flank, to whom we have sacred obligation as Allies”, Price posted on Twitter.
– Latvian Defense Minister Artis Pabriks has assured Ukrainian Ambassador Oleksandr Mishchenko that the Baltic country will provide assistance to Ukraine in the form of weapons and military equipment.
– The Foreign Secretary gave a statement to the House today on the situation with Ukraine and Russia.
– “Canada will always support our allies and stand by Ukraine and its people” -Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Mélanie Joly writes on Twitter.
– The conflict on Ukraine’s border is on the verge of getting deeper, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell has said.
– The United States and the EU have laid out two paths for Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russia: the path of diplomacy and de-escalation and the path of deterrence with massive consequences and serious costs for Russia should it renew its aggression against Ukraine, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said.
– U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and British Defense of State for Defense Ben Wallace confirmed in a phone conversation that they support Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, the Pentagon said.
– “Any further military aggression would have massive consequences; Russia needs to de-escalate and fully implement Minsk agreements,” – Josep Borrell writes on Twitter.
– EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell has said that the purpose of his visit to Ukraine is to demonstrate the European Union’s support for the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
– “In helicopter with Josep Borrell, taking off to Luhansk region. First ever EU HR/VP visit to Donbas since Russia launched this war. Sign of Ukraine-EU unity in the face of elevated Russian threats and the strength of our diplomacy for peace, security and justice in Europe”, – Dmytro Kuleba said on Twitter.
– “No decisions about Ukraine without Ukraine. On January 10th I will visit Brussels for a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Comission. Part of a wide diplomatic effort to deter further Russian aggression”, – Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba writes on his Twitter.
– “Russia must stop military pressure on Ukraine and deescalate immediately. The situation is serious. NATO ready for constructive dialogue w/ Russia, but we will not compromise on fundamental principles of European security”, – writes on Twitter Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod.
– Vladimir Putin and his entourage have been spouting belligerent rhetoric, openly calling into question Ukraine’s continued right to exist. Moscow has resorted to military action against its neighbors, including Ukraine, before. Yet the results this time could be even more catastrophic, David J. Kramer and John E. Herbst write for The Washington Post.
– On January 7, NATO foreign ministers will hold an extraordinary online meeting on the build-up of Russian troops near Ukraine’s borders.
– U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken discussed with the Bucharest Nine foreign ministers the situation on Ukraine’s border, where Russia is withdrawing troops and equipment.
The US Secretary of State stressed the need for a united and determined position of NATO for the collective protection of Allied allies, as well as transatlantic cooperation on issues of mutual interest.
– Ukraine has the right and freedom to choose its unions and partnerships, and no one will be deciding things related to Ukraine without Ukraine, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell has said.
– Putin’s attempt to silence critics of Soviet crimes is an attack on the future, as well as the past, Edward Lucas writes for The Times.
– European Union High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy Josep Borrell will visit Ukraine on January 4-6.
As the press service of the European Commission reported on Monday, “his first trip abroad this year testifies to the EU’s strong support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity at a time when the country is faced with a Russian military buildup and hybrid actions.”
– Biden has said he wants to “prove that American democracy can still do big things and take on challenges that matter most.” Mostly, he means domestic challenges. But some challenges abroad will also affect American confidence and credibility well into the future. Helping Ukrainians defend Ukrainian democracy is one of them, Anne Applebaum writes for Тhe Аtlantic.
– U.S. President Joe Biden had a telephone conversation with President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskуy on Sunday.
“President Biden made clear that the United States and its allies and partners will respond decisively if Russia further invades Ukraine,” reads the statement by Press Secretary Jen Psaki.
– There are 122,000 Russian servicemen deployed at a 200-km distance to the borders of Ukraine, as well as another 143,500 at a distance of 400 km. That’s according to Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council, Oleksiy Danilov, who spoke at a briefing following a working visit to Ivano-Frankivsk region.
“As for the number of troops… To date, what we see is 122,000 Russian troops located at 200 km and 143,500 at 400 km within this radius of our border”, said Danilov.
He reiterated that the situation near the borders has never been calm since 2014, but the president and the country’s top military leadership have the situation “under control”.
– On December 9, the German Parliament will hold an emergency hearing on the concentration of Russian troops near the state borders of Ukraine. The topic of the hearing was “The position of the federal government on the accumulation of Russian troops along the state borders of Ukraine”.
– Minister of Defense of Ukraine Oleksiy Reznikov stressed that escalation of the situation in Donbas by the Russian Federation at the end of January 2022 is a plausible scenario.
– The Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba discussed with the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Canada Melanie Jolie the strengthening of the special partnership. The heads of Ukrainian and Canadian diplomacy at the meeting of the NATO North Atlantic Council in Riga discussed concrete steps within the framework of a comprehensive package to deter Russia from further aggressive actions.
– Polish President Andrzej Duda has called for an increase in the readiness of NATO forces on the eastern flank due to the security situation around Ukraine’s borders.
– Russia supplies weapons to the occupied Crimea and certain districts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions. This was stated by Deputy Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the UN Yuriy Vitrenko during a debate in the Security Council of the organization on small arms and light weapons. He stressed that counteracting this is one of the priorities for our country, which protects its sovereignty and territorial integrity from Russian aggression. And such supplies run counter to the letter and spirit of the UN program and undermine global and regional efforts in this area.
– Ukraine is ready to resist the armed aggression of the Russian Federation and will not allow a repeat of the 2014 scenario. This was stated during a meeting with a delegation of the US Senate by Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine Oleksiy Danilov. He noted that Russia send its troops to the Ukrainian border in order to have an advantage in future talks. And the fact that the Kremlin is testing the latest missile defense systems on its satellites suggests that there are no rules for the Kremlin.
– France is concerned about Russia’s build-up near Ukraine’s borders and has called on Moscow to refrain from further invasion.
– The United States continues to monitor Russia’s actions near the border with Ukraine. This was stated by Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin. According to him, the American side cannot fully unravel Moscow’s plans and calls on it to be more transparent in its intentions and to abide by the Minsk agreements.