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Ukraine news – live: UK defence secretary travels to Moscow with warning to Russia over ‘lose-lose’ invasion

Russian foreign secretary says Liz Truss meeting ‘like talking to a deaf person’

The UK defence secretary will travel to Moscow on Friday to meet his Russian counterpart in an attempt to find a solution to the crisis on the Ukrainian border, where tens of thousands of troops have massed.

Ben Wallace will tell Sergei Shoigu, the Russian defence minister, that invading Ukraine would be a “lose-lose” situation, The Times reported.

His trip follows Boris Johnson’s visits to Brussels and Warsaw on Thursday, where he insisted Vladimir Putin must not be allowed to “bully” eastern Europe.

The UK has put 1,000 troops on standby but Russia has insisted its military build-up does not signal an intention to invade Ukraine.

Elsewhere, the British government has implemented tougher and expanded sanctions against Russia, meaning the UK could now take action against Russian businesses and individuals in a range of significant sectors, such as the chemical, defence, extractives, ICT and financial services industries.

Key Points

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Blinken warns Russia continuing to mass troops along Ukraine border

New Russian forces continue to arrive at the Ukrainian border and an invasion of Ukraine could begin at any time, including during the Beijing Winter Olympics, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Friday.

Speaking at a news conference in Melbourne following a meeting of Quad – an informal grouping of United States, Australia, India and Japan – Mr Blinken said Washington was going to keep withdrawing staff from its embassy.

He added there were “very troubling” signs of Russian escalation in the region.

Tom Batchelor11 February 2022 08:38


Ukraine is paying the price for a decade of western weakness and appeasement

In The Independent’s Editorial today, the spotlight is on west’s non-existent united front that has failed Ukraine.

The sad truth about Ukraine is that the west will not fight for it. Boris Johnson, as if to underline the point, travelled all the way to a Nato meeting in Brussels, and then on to Poland, to show that he will talk tough and deploy troops there – and in any other Nato country or friend in the region – but not in Ukraine. There will be RAF patrols in Romania and out of Cyprus, there will be troops in Estonia and Poland, there will be royal navy ships in the eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea; anywhere but Ukraine.

Morally, the Ukrainians certainly have Britain behind them, as Liz Truss told Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister. Then there is the potent threat to send British armaments to Ukraine, and that of fearsome economic sanctions – and, bizarrely, a pledge from the prime minister to overwhelm Russia’s diplomatic “bandwidth” with ever more talks. But not a single British squaddie will fire a single bullet at a Russian if that Russian puts a toecap over the frontier, as Mr Johnson puts it. Of that, all – including President Putin – may be sure.

Although the British are on the more honourable and determined end of the divided western response to Russian expansionism, the deterrence of a full military presence or defence-treaty guarantee for Ukraine is of course painfully absent. That is the problem. If the Russians believed that a war with Nato would follow any further aggression, they would not be menacing the country now.

Read the full Editorial on Russia-Ukraine conflict here

Arpan Rai11 February 2022 07:28


Our government is ‘sexing up’ the threat of a Russia-Ukraine conflict

Columnist Mary Dejevsky explains that while personally she remains sceptical about any Russian plan to invade, the overheated talk, from wherever it comes, risks bringing about precisely that result.

Fake news, disinformation, misinformation – call it what you will. The study of disinformation has become ubiquitous across the western world and currently draws lavish funding.

Its aficionados tend to proceed from two assumptions. One is that the world is made up of “us” and “them”, friend and foe, and disinformation always and only comes from “them”. The other, which often shines through the painstaking analysis of algorithms, bots and the rest, is the belief that the majority of our fellow human beings are too stupid to tell truth from falsehood, and need to be taught, by the initiated and from an early age, how to spot the rogues.

None of this helps, however, when erroneous, misleading or – perish the thought – actual disinformation comes from your own side. When that information also has the potential to distort or fuel a changing and potentially incendiary situation, it poses a big question for journalists: can you believe what you are being told and, if not, what can and should you do about it?

Read her column on how the threat of Russia-Ukraine conflict is being hyped

Arpan Rai11 February 2022 06:16


Russia continues military buildup on three sides of Ukraine, satellite images show

Russia is cornering Ukraine in a military buildup from three sides — Crimea, western Russia and Belarus — satellite images have confirmed.

A large deployment of troops and equipment is visible in Crimea, US-base technology company Maxar said, citing fresh images collected on Thursday.

Military troops and equipment is seen at Oktayabrskoye airfield, a formerly disused base in Simferopol in the north of the Crimean capital, reported CNN.

More than 550 troop tents and hundreds of vehicles have arrived at the Crimean site, according to Maxar, in addition to other sites in Crimea like Novoozernoye which are also witnessing an influx of troops and equipment., said Maxar’s senior director Stephen Wood.

At Novoozernoye, extensive artillery deployments and training exercises have been observed.

In a first, Maxar has also traced military deployment by Russia in the town of Slavne on the northwest coast of Crimea, including armoured vehicles.

Arpan Rai11 February 2022 05:56


Defence Secretary set for Moscow trip in effort to quell Ukraine border tensions

Defence secretary Ben Wallace is set to leave for Moscow and meet his Russian counterpart on Friday in the UK’s ongoing effort to quell the simmering crisis on the Ukrainian border.

This trip will come shortly after Boris Johnson’s visit to Brussels and Warsaw on Thursday as he underlined that the continent faces its biggest security crisis in decades and Russian leader Vladimir Putin must not be allowed to “bully” eastern Europe.

The administration confirmed preparations to allow the UK to “toughen and expand” its sanctions against Russia have come into force.

Mr Wallace will make clear to Sergei Shoigu, the Russian defence minister, that invading Ukraine would be a “lose-lose” situation, reported The Times.

In the coming days, the UK could now impose sanctions on Russian businesses and individuals in a range of significant sectors, such as the chemical, defence, extractives, ICT and financial services industries.

Amy Gibbons has the full report here

Arpan Rai11 February 2022 05:17


Ukrainian general tells Russian troops ‘land will be flooded’ with blood

Ukrainian General Oleksandr Syrskyi has issued a stern message for Russian troops on the other side of the border, stating that a full invasion of Ukraine would not be a “simple walk in the park” as the situation remains tense in the region.

Commander of all Ukrainian ground forces, the general said that his troops will fight for every metre if Russia invades Ukrainian territory.

“The armed forces of Ukraine are ready. We are capable and we will not give up a single metre of Ukrainian land without a fight,” general Syrskyi told Sky News.

He added: “We are ready, and we warn them: ‘It won’t be a simple walk in the park. Each metre of that land will be flooded with the occupants’ [other side’s] blood.

“I trust in the Ukrainian servicemembers. I trust in our armed forces and I trust in our victory,” he said.

More than 100,000 troops are on guard at Russia’s border it shares with Ukraine, signalling its preparedness for military action.

Arpan Rai11 February 2022 04:31


Biden tells US citizens to leave Ukraine: ‘That’s a world war when…’

Warning that the US troops will not be able to intervene militarily to help American citizens get out of Ukraine, Joe Biden has urged them to leave the European country immediately.

“American citizens should leave now. It’s not like we’re dealing with a terrorist organisation. We’re dealing with one of the largest armies in the world,” he said.

The president added: “It’s a very different situation and things could go crazy quickly.”

Mr Biden was speaking with NBC News when he said that he still fears Russia’s leader could order his troops into Ukraine.

On being asked if there’s a situation where he will send US troops to Ukraine to help American citizens, Mr Biden said: “There’s not. That’s a world war when Americans and Russia start shooting at one another.”

More details on Mr Biden’s interview can be read here

Arpan Rai11 February 2022 04:15


US asks its citizens in Ukraine to depart immediately

The US department of state has issued a fresh set of warnings for its citizens asking them to not travel to Ukraine, Crimea, Donetsk and Luhansk, citing potential military action from Russia.

This travel advisory replaces the previous one issued on 23 January.

“Do not travel to Ukraine due to the increased threats of Russian military action and Covid-19, those in Ukraine should depart now via commercial or private means. If remaining in Ukraine, exercise increased caution due to crime, civil unrest, and potential combat operations should Russia take military action,” the advisory read, adding that some areas have increased risk.

There are continued reports of a Russian military build-up on the border with Ukraine, indicating potential for significant military action against Ukraine,” officials said in the advisory.

It added: “The security conditions, particularly along Ukraine’s borders, in Russia-occupied Crimea, and in Russia-controlled eastern Ukraine, are unpredictable and can deteriorate with little notice. Demonstrations, which have turned violent at times, regularly occur throughout Ukraine, including in Kiev.”

Arpan Rai11 February 2022 03:30


Hello, Arpan Rai here, I’m taking over our live coverage on Ukraine now and will be with you for the next few hours.

You can read all about our reportage on Ukraine here

Arpan Rai11 February 2022 03:18


That’s all for our live updates this evening. We’ll be back with the latest news on the Ukraine crisis tomorrow morning.

Katy Clifton10 February 2022 22:10

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