‘Swift and severe consequences’ for Russia if they invade Ukraine, warns US Secretary of State
Boris Johnson has warned Russian President Vladimir Putin that a further incursion into Ukraine would be a “tragic miscalculation” as they finally held their delayed call.
The prime minister expressed his “deep concern” about Russia massing an estimated 100,000 troops on the Ukrainian border when they spoke on Wednesday afternoon.
It comes as Typhoon jets were scrambled on Wednesday to intercept four Russian military aircraft approaching the UK.
The jets, launched from RAF Lossiemouth in Moray, Scotland, were joined by a Voyager air-to-air refuelling tanker from RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire.
An RAF spokesperson said “four Russian Bear aircraft” were “intercepted and escorted”. At no point did they enter UK airspace.
Meanwhile, the United States is deploying 3,000 troops to Europe within “days” to bolster the Nato alliance and deter Russian aggression, according to media reports.
An anonymous US administration official told the Associated Press that around 2,000 troops were being sent to Poland and Germany this week, and roughly 1,000 Germany-based soldiers will be moved to Romania. The Wall Street Journal said troops were going to Germany, Poland and Romania.
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Biden and allies hunt surplus natural gas to fuel Europe in event of war
The US and its European allies are searching for surplus natural gas across the globe, including China, to be sent to Europe in the event of war between Ukraine and Russia, sources told Bloomberg.
The Biden administration is reportedly in talks with China that are yet to result in any agreement, two unnamed people familiar with the development said.
European officials have also reached out to their counterparts in Japan, South Korea and India about diverting supplies of gas to Europe, the report said.
Global natural gas is different from oil with little spare capacity. So far no producer has confirmed to provide gas as more extractions are difficult at short notice.
The concern arises from the fact that Europe is dependent on Russia for about 40 per cent of its fuel supplies.
Shweta Sharma3 February 2022 04:06
France to move ahead with plans to send troops to Romania
After the US pledged extra troops deployment to Poland, Germany, and Romania, France on Thursday will aim to refine plans to send troops to Romania, which has a 600-km border with Ukraine.
The French troop deployment will be part of the future Nato mission to give further reassurance to the Black Sea as Romania fears spillover threat from the Ukraine-Russia crisis.
France’s foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian will hold talks in Bucharest on Thursday with nine ministers from Eastern Europe and the Baltic states, including Poland, the Czech Republic, and Estonia, to discuss the spiraling situation.
“France is ready to commit to new Nato reassurance measures for Romania,” Le Drian said, speaking alongside his Romanian counterpart Bogdan Aurescu. “We are proud to stand with you when the security situation is worsening at your borders, which are also our borders.”
Shweta Sharma3 February 2022 03:39
Trump says Russia-Ukraine tensions ‘wouldn’t have happened’ if he was still president
Joe Middleton2 February 2022 23:59
Red Cross warns of dire conditions in east Ukraine amid Russia tensions
Hundreds of thousands of people in eastern Ukraine are living in dire conditions, with poor access to basic services and under constant threat from shelling and landmines, the Red Cross has warned, amid escalating tensions between Kiev and Moscow.
With countries heavily focused just now on the massing of Russian troops along Ukraine’s borders, there is a serious risk of them ignoring the ongoing plight of people stuck since 2014 in the crossfire between Kiev’s forces and Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine, it said.
Low-level hostilities persist despite frequent ceasefires, sometimes resulting in civilian injuries or damage to essential infrastructure such as water pumping stations, said a senior official of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
Joe Middleton2 February 2022 23:45
‘We don’t trust British diplomacy’, says Russia’s deputy UN ambassador
Joe Middleton2 February 2022 22:46
US moves more troops to Europe as Russian lawmaker calls deployment ‘an absolutely destructive step’
President Joe Biden has reportedly directed Defence Department officials to deploy 2,000 UStroops from Fort Bragg, North Carolina to positions in Poland and Germany, and to reposition a 1,000-person brigade quartered in Germany to Romania.
The troop movements – first reported by The Wall Street Journal – are meant to bolster Nato’s eastern flank and deter a possible invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces.
Last week, Mr Biden also gave roughly 8,500 soldiers orders to make ready for possibly deployment to reinforce Nato allies.
Joe Middleton2 February 2022 21:46
Tory MP warns against Army Reserve cuts amid Ukraine crisis
A Conservative MP has warned against cuts to the Army Reserve at a time when reservists are central to the “darkening military picture in Ukraine“.
Richard Bacon told the Commons he is worried about a gap between the “laudable” aims of ministers and what is actually planned for the Reserve.
The MP for South Norfolk said: “I’m concerned that there is a yawning gap opening up, a gap between the laudable ambitions of ministers in the Ministry of Defence, and what is actually proposed for the Reserve.
“Ironically, this debate takes place at a time when large numbers of reservists on both sides are central to the darkening military picture in Ukraine.”
Mr Bacon said he is concerned that at a time when the regular Army is reduced, again, “it seems extraordinary that we are cutting the Army Reserve, too”, adding: “Could my honourable friend confirm that the Ministry of Defence plans to cut the establishment of the Army Reserve from 30,100 trained and a further 3,000 on Phase One training to 27,100 trained with a further 3,000 on Phase One training? A cut of around 10%?”
Intervening during the debate, Conservative former minister Mark Francois said that given there are 125,000 Russian troops in Ukraine, “we should never under any circumstances take our reserves for granted”.
Joe Middleton2 February 2022 20:46
Psaki blasts ‘unAmerican’ Josh Hawley over calls for Nato to block Ukraine
Joe Middleton2 February 2022 20:25
NATO Secretary-General welcomes US troop deployment to eastern Europe
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday welcomed the US decision to deploy additional forces to Germany, Poland and Romania amid heightened tensions with Russia about Mocow’s military build-up on Ukraine‘s borders.
“This is a powerful signal of U.S. commitment, and comes on top of other recent U.S. contributions to our shared security. including 8,500 troops at high readiness for the NATO Response Force, and the USS Harry S. Truman carrier strike group under NATO command in the Mediterranean,” Stoltenberg said in a statement.
“Our deployments are defensive and proportional, and send the clear message that NATO will do whatever is necessary to protect and defend all Allies,” he added.
Joe Middleton2 February 2022 19:45
Johnson warns Putin any Ukraine invasion would be ‘tragic miscalculation’ amid increased tensions
Boris Johnson has warned Russian president Vladimir Putin any invasion of Ukraine would be a “tragic miscalculation”, amid heightened tensions between Moscow and London.
In a call with Mr Putin — delayed due to the prime minister’s domestic troubles — No 10 said Mr Johnson expressed his “deep concern” over “hostile activity” against Ukraine, with as many as 100,000 Russian troops estimated to be amassing on the country’s border.
It came just hours after Royal Air Force typhoon fighter jets were scrambled to intercept “unidentified aircraft” — later identified as four Russian Bear planes — approaching a UK “area of interest”, according to an RAF spokesperson.
Joe Middleton2 February 2022 19:15