Thousands of Ukranian volunteers take part in open military training
Prime minister Boris Johnson is flying to Kiev today to meet Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy amid rising tensions with Moscow.
Mr Johnson will promise to “uphold Ukraine’s sovereignty” amid what the US has described as the threat of an “imminent” Russian invasion.
Meanwhile, US secretary of state Antony Blinken and Russia’s foreign minister Sergey Lavrov are also set to have a meeting today, a day after the two nations clashed at the UN Security Council with Russia accusing the West of stoking fears of war and denying it was acting provocatively.
The US argued that Russia’s growing military force of more than 100,000 troops along Ukraine’s borders was “the largest mobilisation” in Europe in decades, and said it was Russia that is guilty of “provocations”.
“The discussions about a threat of war is provocative in and of itself. You are almost calling for this, you want it to happen,” Russian ambassador Vasily Nebenzia said at the meeting.
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Ukraine’s move to increase army ‘not because we will soon have a war’, says president
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy told the country’s parliament that efforts to increase the size of armed forces by 100,000 troops over three years do not mean war with Russia was imminent.
“This decree (was prepared) not because we will soon have a war… but so that soon and in the future there will be peace in Ukraine,” Mr Zelenskiy said in an address to parliament on Tuesday after signing the decree.
“We must be united in domestic politics. You can be in opposition to the government, but you can’t be in opposition to Ukraine,” Mr Zelenskiy said, urging lawmakers to stay calm and united.
“You can despise … the government, the president, but you can’t despise your own people, sow panic in order to reap political gains, keep people in a state of alarm.”
There are currently nearly 250,000 people in Ukraine‘s armed forces, which are vastly outnumbered and outgunned by Russia’s.
The United Kingdom, the United States and Poland are among countries that have offered military aid for Ukraine and called for tough sanctions on Moscow if Russia launches an attack.
While Russia’s move to grow military force along Ukraine’s borders is being seen as an act of aggression, Moscow has denied any plans to invade Ukraine but has demanded sweeping security guarantees from the West, including a promise that Kyiv can never join NATO.
After Mr Zelenskiy’s address, Ukrainian lawmakers gathered in the well of the parliament chamber holding up flags of countries that have shown their support, including the UK and Canada.
Stuti Mishra1 February 2022 10:22
Liz Truss to miss Ukraine trip after testing positive for Covid
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss will miss a trip to Ukraine after she tested positive for coronavirus.
Ms Truss announced on Twitter on Monday night that she had tested positive and would be working from home as she isolates.
But she had been due on a visit with prime minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday, for a meeting with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky amid rising tensions with Russia.
Geraldine Scott has more details on this:
Stuti Mishra1 February 2022 10:05
Russia denies responding to US on security proposals – RIA
A senior Russian diplomat clarified on Tuesday that the response received by the US over their de-escalation proposal is not an answer but instead follow-up questions.
Russia’s state news agency RIA has reported quoting the unnamed official that the letter received by the US on Monday contained questions from foreign minister Sergei Lavrov on Moscow’s demands for security guarantees.
The letter was also sent to other NATO members asking how Moscow’s counterparts understood the “indivisibility of security” principle.
Moscow was still working on the actual response to Washington’s counter-proposals, the source said.
A State Department spokesperson said on Monday the United States has received a written follow-up from Russia on the matter.
Washington and Brussels replied last week to Moscow’s demands for legally binding security guarantees amid a standoff over Ukraine’s plans to join NATO.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said last week they had not addressed Moscow’s main security demands but Russia was ready to keep talking.
Stuti Mishra1 February 2022 09:45
Ukraine will increase size of military by 100,000, president tells parliament
Ukraine will increase the size of its armed forces by 100,000 people over three years, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy told parliament on Tuesday amid a standoff with Russia.
Mr Zelenskiy also said Ukraine‘s economy was stabilising and urged lawmakers to stay united and not sow panic about the threat of a Russian military offensive.
He hoped the date of another round of peace talks with Russia, France and Germany would be agreed upon soon.
Stuti Mishra1 February 2022 09:20
Ukraine launches tourism campaign amid tensions
Ukraine’s tourism board is encouraging visitors to “Keep calm and visit Ukraine”, despite the looming threat of a Russian invasion.
More than 100,000 Russian troops have gathered close to the border of Europe’s second-largest country.
However, a recent statement from the Visit Ukraine campaign states that there is “no reason to panic”, and that the “situation on the Ukrainian border remains under control”.
Joanna Whitehead has more on this:
Stuti Mishra1 February 2022 09:00
Sacrificing Ukraine would be ‘disastrous’ for the West, MPs told
Sacrificing Ukraine amid the ongoing tensions with Russia would be a “disastrous” move for the West, a defence expert has told MPs
However, the professor of strategic studies said Vladimir Putin may have “miscalculated” in his understanding of international support for Kiev.
Stuti Mishra1 February 2022 08:30
Bomb shelters, guerrilla war: Building Ukraine’s resistance
The table tennis coach, the chaplain’s wife, the dentist and the firebrand nationalist have little in common except a desire to defend their hometown and a sometimes halting effort to speak Ukrainian instead of Russian.
The situation in Kharkiv just 40 kilometres from some of the tens of thousands of Russian troops massed at the border of Ukraine, feels particularly perilous. Ukraine’s second-largest city is one of its industrial centres and includes two factories that restore old Soviet-era tanks or build new ones.
Stuti Mishra1 February 2022 08:05
PM urges Putin to avoid ‘bloodshed’
Ahead of his visit to Ukraine, the prime minister urged Russia to avoid “bloodshed” as he vowed to support Ukraine’s sovereignty.
“It is the right of every Ukrainian to determine how they are governed. As a friend and a democratic partner, the UK will continue to uphold Ukraine’s sovereignty in the face of those who seek to destroy it,” Mr Johnson said.
“We urge Russia to step back and engage in dialogue to find a diplomatic resolution and avoid further bloodshed.”
Geraldine Scott has more:
Stuti Mishra1 February 2022 07:40
Boris Johnson set to meet Ukraine’s president
Boris Johnson is to hold discussions with Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskiy in a visit to the country today.
The prime minister, who will be accompanied by foreign secretary Liz Truss, will promise to “uphold Ukraine’s sovereignty” amid mounting tensions with Russia.
But he may turn up without having spoken to Vladimir Putin after the domestic scandal over illegal parties forced him to reschedule a planned phone call with the Russian leader.
Our policy correspondent Jon Stone has more details:
Stuti Mishra1 February 2022 07:18
UK to give £88m in aid for Ukraine
Boris Johnson will reaffirm his support for Ukraine with £88 million of aid for the country as he urged Russia to “avoid further bloodshed”.
The Prime Minister will meet with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyon on Tuesday, and has committed money from the UK’s Good Governance Fund to help “support stable governance and energy independence”.
As well as supporting transparency and anti-corruption initiatives, some of the £88 million announced will go towards efforts to reduce Ukraine’s reliance on Russian energy supplies.
Geraldine Scott has more:
Stuti Mishra1 February 2022 06:47