Russia: Ukraine invasion 'more likely than not' says Cotton
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With an estimated 130,000 Russian troops gathered along the Ukrainian border and the ability for President Putin to launch a full-scale invasion, Western leaders have arranged a meeting with Putin in a last effort to prevent a conflict. US officials have received intelligence stating Russia could take action as soon as Wednesday, reports reveal.
President Biden had an hour-long phone call with Putin this week after his senior security advisor warned there could be “major military action” by Russia “very soon”.
Mr Biden warned the Russian President that the attack would cause “widespread human suffering” and would “diminish Russia’s standing”.
The precision of the intelligence given to US officials warning of an imminent attack remains unclear.
President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky invited Biden to Kiev to show solidarity and urged for a calm atmosphere, stating that he has not seen the US intelligence warning of an attack on Wednesday.
Mr Zelensky attempted to play down the intelligence by stating: “The best friend of our enemies is panic in our country. And all this information is just provoking panic and can’t help us.”
Alongside this, spokeswoman for Russia’s Ministry of Foreign affairs, Maria Zakharova berated the White House for causing “hysteria”.
UK defence secretary Ben Wallace flew to Moscow this week in an attempt of diplomacy to share Biden’s concerns of a Russian “offensive at any time”.
Boris Johnson is due to travel to Europe this week and German chancellor, Olaf Scholz is expected to arrive in Kyiv on Monday to meet with President Zelensky followed by a meeting with Putin in Moscow on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, foreign secretary Liz Truss is expected to continue Zelensky’s wish for level-headedness as she and ministers call for “cool heads” as she begins a tour of NATO’s eastern border.
Ms Truss has been criticised by officials in Moscow as they called her visit a “complete failure” with easier diplomatic discussions with Kiev than London.
Truss has been ridiculed by Moscow for allegedly lacking basic geography and Sergey Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister said that she was “unprepared” and described their meeting as like “talking to a deaf person”.
She has been called “Lady No” as both she and other UK officials have been accused by Mr Lavrov of “listening to us but not hearing”.
Tory backbenchers have criticised Boris Johnson and called for him to remove the “poison” of illegal Russian money in the City of London.
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US officials fear that “Londongrad” could prevent effective sanctions against Russia as a source in Washington said: “Russian money is so entrenched in London now, that the opportunity to use it as leverage against Putin could be lost.”
He continued: “Biden is talking about sanctioning Putin himself but that can only be symbolic. Putin doesn’t hold his money abroad; it is all in the kleptocrats’ names and a hell of a lot of it is sitting in houses in Knightsbridge and Belgravia right under your government’s noses.”
Tatler stated that after the Soviet Union collapsed “a group of savvy (though not always savoury) business magnates found themselves in possession of enormous riches”.
Instead of staying in Russia they “looked west, to the world’s financial capital – and London’s politicians welcomed them and their wallets with open arms”.
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