Russia: Expert discusses tensions with Ukraine
Ukraine and Russia have recently blamed each other over a rise in violence in the region. Since 2014, Ukrainian troops have battled Russian-backed forces in a conflict that Kyiv says has killed 14,000. Russia’s build-up on the border of Ukraine is still continuing, with leaked Ukrainian intelligence claiming troop numbers could eventually reach around 110,000 from the current 80,000, alongside 7,000 tanks and other vehicles.
Ukraine’s defence minister Andriy Taran also warned during a meeting of NATO leaders that Russia could be preparing to move nuclear weapons into Crimea, which would drag the region closer to all-out war.
Dmytro Kuleba, the country’s foreign minister, also said today that Moscow is “openly” threatening Ukraine with “destruction” by stationing 80,000 troops along its border and preparing to send more.
His words came following a meeting with the foreign ministers of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, which are NATO allies in the region.
He said: “The world is on the side of Ukraine and international law, and this is one of the elements of restraining Russia from reckless actions.”
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Speaking to Le Figaro newspaper ahead of his meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on Friday, Mr Zelenskiy said: “If the EU and Emmanuel Macron consider us as a true member of the European family, they must act accordingly.”
He added that France, Germany and the European Union had already helped Ukraine a lot, notably with sanctions against Russia.
The President said: “The discussion must also take place on security issues.
“The security of Europe depends on that of Ukraine…We cannot indefinitely remain in the waiting room of the EU or of NATO.”
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Since 2014, Ukrainian troops have battled Russian-backed forces in a conflict that Kyiv says has killed 14,000
It comes as Britain accused Russia’s foreign intelligence agency of responsibility for a major cyber attack affecting thousands of organisations in the West.
Russia’s ambassador Andrei Kelin was summoned to the Foreign Office to be told the UK will continue to work with allies “to call out and counter malign operations” by Moscow’s spies.
The announcement came as the US administration of President Joe Biden also announced it was expelling 10 Russian diplomats in response to the Kremlin’s targeting of federal agencies and attempts to interfere in last year’s presidential election.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the UK and US were determined to stand together against what he described as Russia’s “malign behaviour”.
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Britain accused Russia’s foreign intelligence agency of responsibility for a major cyber attack
He said: “We see what Russia is doing to undermine our democracies.
“The UK and US are calling out Russia’s malicious behaviour, to enable our international partners and businesses at home to better defend and prepare themselves against this kind of action.
“The UK will continue to work with allies to call out Russia’s malign behaviour where we see it.”
The US has also imposed sanctions on Russia, including curbs to its sovereign debt market, to punish it for interfering in last year’s US election, cyber-hacking, bullying Ukraine and other alleged “malign” actions.
The US Government blacklisted Russian companies, expelled Russian diplomats and barred US banks from buying sovereign bonds from Russia’s central bank, national wealth fund and finance ministry.
Ukraine and Russia have recently blamed each other over a rise in violence in the region
The Russian foreign ministry reacted angrily and summoned the US ambassador for a meeting to tell him “a series of retaliatory measures will follow soon.”
Meanwhile, Russia’s defence minister, Sergei Shoigu, has previously denied plans to invade Ukraine by saying that Russia is just carrying out training exercises in response to a NATO troop build-up and drills near its border.
Russian news channels also played today what appeared to be old military footage of supply drops in Alaska and Bulgaria.
The news channels also claimed the footage showed NATO forces in Ukraine.
However, NATO denies any build-up in the country.