Moscow – Reuters
The Belarusian Ministry of Defense said Belarus would extend military exercises scheduled to end on Sunday, while US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said he was more concerned about the immediate Russian invasion of Ukraine, while President Joe Biden canceled his visit to Delaware.
Belarus Ministry of Defense said the decision to extend the extension was due to military action near the borders of the two countries and the situation in the Donbass region in eastern Ukraine.
NATO says Russia has 30,000 troops in Belarus in northern Ukraine. Belarusian Defense Minister Viktor Grinin said the main purpose of the extended exercises was to “ensure adequate response and weaken the military products of those who inflict harm near our common border.”
NATO says these forces could be used to attack Ukraine. Moscow denies any such intention.
Flinken said there were signs of a Russian invasion, but Russia has repeatedly denied this.
The White House has announced that President Biden Wilmington will not travel to Delaware and will stay in Washington, DC, as tensions over Ukraine escalate. On Sunday, he postponed his scheduled trip to France due to tension and will return to Canada immediately.
For his part, Blinken said his plans to meet with his Russian envoy, Sergei Lavrov, would be this week, unless Moscow continues to invade.
An adviser to President Emmanuel Macron confirmed on Monday that France and Russia had agreed to hold a meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe with representatives of Ukraine and Russia. Czech Prime Minister Peter Viola said in a televised interview: “It is no exaggeration to say that Europe is one step away from war.” It’s hard to imagine a long time ago.
Mikhail Bodolyak, an adviser to the Ukrainian president, said the extension of training in Belarus confirms that Moscow’s official promises are not being kept.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Western warnings of a Russian invasion of Ukraine could have provocative and serious consequences. Russia says Western nations are raising tensions by sending NATO reinforcements to Eastern Europe during the crisis.
Western nations are preparing sanctions that could have a significant impact on Russian companies and citizens during the invasion.
Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba said the West should impose some sanctions without waiting for an invasion.
“Russia must be stopped now,” he added. We see how events unfold.
The focus of tensions has shifted in recent days to part of eastern Ukraine, which was captured by Moscow-backed rebels in 2014, the same year Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine. More than 14,000 people have been killed in clashes in eastern Ukraine.
The West is worried that Russia will use the expansion as an excuse for a wider conflict. Explosions were heard in the center of the town of Donetsk in the separatist-controlled Donbass region, as well as heavy shelling in other areas the previous day.
Donetsk residents received text messages inviting men to apply for military service.
More than 30,000 people from neighboring Donetsk and Luhansk have crossed the Russian border in the past 24 hours, according to Russia’s Rostov regional authorities, according to the TASS news agency. Separatists began evicting residents on Friday, claiming that Ukraine was planning an attack.
Local forces in separatist Luhansk said two civilians were killed and buildings damaged in a Ukrainian military shelling on Sunday.
Two Ukrainian soldiers were killed and four others were injured in what became known as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on Saturday.
Older men and women, some of whom are past retirement age, are preparing to fight on both sides of the separatist conflict in Ukraine, and the renewed fighting comes as Russian forces have concentrated for weeks in the north, east and south of the country. . Western nations estimate there are 150,000 or more Russian troops near Ukraine’s borders.
In London, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Putin’s promise to his French counterpart, Macron, was a welcome sign that Putin was ready for a diplomatic settlement.
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