Ukraine: Washington and Kremlin's top diplomats to meet as Russia ramps up military drills in 'extremely dangerous situation'

1/19/2022 8:24:00 AM

Russia is sending more troops from the country's far east to Belarus for drills, a deployment that will increase the number of military forces positioned near Ukraine's borders.

Washington and the Kremlin's top diplomats are set to meet for talks in Switzerland on Friday, stepping up efforts as tensions escalate amid fears of a possible invasion of Ukraine by Russia

Russia is sending more troops from the country's far east to Belarus for drills, a deployment that will increase the number of military forces positioned near Ukraine's borders.

It’s good news that Russia and America’s most senior diplomats have agreed to meet in person. Only last week the Russians were declaring ‘diplomacy is dead’ at the end of a week of deadlocked talks.“I think the fact that Secretary Blinken and Foreign Minister Lavrov agreed to meet on Friday in Geneva suggests that perhaps diplomacy is not dead,” a State Department official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. The official would not be drawn on whether it was Blinken to suggest the face-to-face.

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Russia pipeline fuels German coalition split as Ukraine tension rises\n\t\t\tGet local insights from Lisbon to Moscow with an unrivalled network of journalists across Europe,\n\t\t\texpert analysis, our dedicated ‘Brussels Briefing’ newsletter. Customise your myFT page to track\n\t\t\tthe countries of your choice.\n\t\t The_Real_Fly Merkel initially understood that Nord Stream 2 is a replacement for the GTS through Ukraine, everything else is philosophy and demagogy. The solution is simple, one of the two gas pipelines must work, that's all, there are no other solutions. Ukraine earns on the transit of gas through the territory of Ukraine, the whole problem. Is this problem worth a military conflict. Like Russia, Ukraine needs to develop the real sector of the economy, and not wait for manna from heaven.

Ukraine says Russia is behind cyberattack that defaced its websitesUkraine accused Moscow of continuing to 'wage a hybrid war' and said the cyberattack was part of a plot to 'destablise the situation in Ukraine'. It should have better cyber security then Sure...I mean how could anyone not believe the US and Ukrainian neo Nazi regime eh? Nazis never lie do they? 🙃 paranoid!

Russia moves troops to Belarus for joint exercises near Ukraine borderMove likely to stoke invasion fears as war games also planned near borders of Nato members Poland and Lithuania This is not a good thing...not a good thing at all. Rook to Bishop 3. I hope the people of Belarus are ready for their country to become a battlefield for Putin's hubris.

‘I’m not sure conflict’ between Russia and Ukraine ‘can be averted‘, says defence select committee chairman'Putin is all ready to go' and invade Ukraine. Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood, chair of the defence select committee tells cathynewman “Putin is trying to redraw the map of eastern Europe”. cathynewman While you redraw the map of Western Europe ? cathynewman And we have an ineffectual Foreign Secretary more concerned with her image, and jostling for position when BJ goes! Global Britain my arse!🤷‍♂️ cathynewman For the last 20 years..... Has no one been paying attention?

Russia holds sniper drills and 'sends missiles to Ukraine border'Video shows Putin's army carrying out shooting exercises in the Rostov region bordering Ukraine on Monday, with up to 100,000 stationed on the border. We should ask Putin to be reasonable and we propose peace talks, I suggest any former Nobel prize winners for this job, or how about Gorbachev?

British anti-tank weapons sent to defend Ukraine from RussiaBritain has sent an anti-tank missile system to Ukraine to help the country defend itself from a Russian invasion. Ben Wallace, the defence secretary, said last I'm on my way And what happens if they send military hardware here. We left the EU. Our domestic forces are weak, our government is a laughing stock, & we rely on energy from Putin. I think we should not be treading on other peoples toes and pissing super powers off. We decided to leave the EU Perhaps we should start bulldozing the Green belt in readiness to house a gazzillion fleeing Ukrainians?

@Stone_SkyNews It’s good news that Russia and America’s most senior diplomats have agreed to meet in person.What is the future of Europe? Get local insights from Lisbon to Moscow with an unrivalled network of journalists across Europe, expert analysis, our dedicated ‘Brussels Briefing’ newsletter.Ukraine said all evidence points to Russia being behind massive cyberattack.Belarus appeared to show artillery and other military vehicles arriving on flatbed carriages owned by the Russian state railway company, and Alexander Volfovich, the head of Belarus’s security council, said in a briefing that troops were already arriving before exercises scheduled for February.

Only last week the Russians were declaring ‘diplomacy is dead’ at the end of a week of deadlocked talks. “I think the fact that Secretary Blinken and Foreign Minister Lavrov agreed to meet on Friday in Geneva suggests that perhaps diplomacy is not dead,” a State Department official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. Choose your subscription Try full digital access and see why over 1 million readers subscribe to the FT 1 € for 4 weeks. The official would not be drawn on whether it was Blinken to suggest the face-to-face. Kyiv and the West fears that Moscow may be planning to invade its neighbour. "Secretary Blinken is 150% committed to seeing if there is a diplomatic off-ramp here, and that really is the impetus behind this engagement with Foreign Minister Lavrov on Friday. We will be testing that hypothesis," the official said. The exercises are to be held in the west of Belarus, near the borders of Nato members Poland and Lithuania, and its southern flank with Ukraine, Lukashenko said.

So that’s the good news - the two sides remain committed to talking, for now. The bad news is that Russia has moved more troops into positions bordering Ukraine, this time in Belarus. From a Ukrainian / Western perspective and in the context of the wider crisis, it is worrying. Russian troops positioned in southern Belarus put them geographically much closer to Kyiv. Remember that within the ‘will Russia invade Ukraine’ debate are more questions: will it mount a small incursion into Russian-aligned rebel territory in the east, or, will it try a fuller invade to include taking the capital Kyiv? US officials never choose to get into Vladimir Putin’s head or guess his intensions. Lukashenko said on Monday that the exact dates in February were still being determined.

But they do believe that the Belarusian troop build-up gives Russia increased capability to invade, with increased routes too. Beyond the immediate, the spectre of Russian nuclear weapons inside Belarus - and therefore closer to Europe - is a growing concern for diplomats in Washington DC and in European capitals. Former Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko said the"whole world is very much disturbed by the possibility of Russian aggression", adding that the country should follow the example set by the Conservative and Labour parties in the UK during World War Two and"demonstrate this unity in Ukraine". He said he blames the current president for failing to"mobilise" and unite the nation. Follow the Daily podcast on .