Russia: Putin sparks concerns among citizens with 'angry' Ukraine rambling
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Volodymyr Zelenskiy said there was “no reason for a sleepless night” and pushed against world leaders who have publicly stressed the possibility of a Russian invasion. This comes as Russia announced they were recognising the independence of two separatist Ukrainian regions: the Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic.
They have ordered troops to the areas, saying that they will “maintain peace”.
However, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken branded the move as “shameful” in a tweet.
He said: “Russia’s move to recognize the ‘independence’ of so-called republics controlled by its own proxies is a predictable, shameful act”.
Mr Blinken has also been in contact with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba to discuss the “strong measures” announced by the US on Monday. A spokesperson for the State Department said that Mr Blinken also “reiterated that additional steps would be forthcoming”.
However, President Zelenskiy appeared to push back against the actions of the West in response to Putin’s threat.
Speaking to the global media in Kiev last Friday, Mr Zelenskiy urged calm, and indirectly criticised the US decision to pull family members of diplomats out of the country.
He said: “We don’t have a Titanic here.
“I don’t consider the situation now more tense than before. There is a feeling abroad that there is war here.
“That’s not the case. I am not saying an escalation is not possible…(but) we don’t need this panic.”
He added: “There are signals even from respected leaders of states, they just say that tomorrow there will be war. This is panic – how much does it cost for our state?”
This followed a call with President Biden, during which the Ukrainian president raised the ‘distinct possibility’ Russian troops would soon overrun his country, according to CNN.
CNN also reported that they heard from a Ukrainian source that Mr Zelenskiy had made a plea to Mr Biden to “tone down” the messaging surrounding the possibility of a Russian invasion.
Speaking at a press conference, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin warned that Russia has deployed over 100,000 troops at Ukraine’s borders through a “consistent and steady pace,” which has been supported by Russian naval activity in the northern Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea.
He said: “As we look at that number of troops and that amount of hardware that’s in the border region, it far and away exceeds what we typically see them do for exercise so it’s very concerning.”
General Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, also said Friday that Russia’s presence at the Ukraine border “is larger in scale and scope in the massing of forces than anything we’ve seen in recent memory.”
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He added: “You’d have to go back quite a while into the Cold War days to see something of this magnitude.”
Mr Zelenskiy stated in his address last week that Kiev would not respond militarily to Putin’s latest ploy.
Doing so could give Putin sufficient pretext for a devastating response.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson held a COBRA meeting this morning to discuss the UK’s response.
Sajid Javid confirmed that the Prime Minister will address Parliament regarding Ukraine later today.
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