Ukraine announced that it will increase troop numbers by 100,000
Johnson urges Russia to ‘step back’ from Ukraine invasion during Kiev address
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.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is due to speak with Vladimir Putin today, following jibes from Russia about the UK’s diplomacy efforts being “utterly confused” and Liz Truss’s “stupidity”.
The Kremlin said that it would provide details of the call if and when President Putin spoke to PM Boris Johnson by phone and that Mr Putin was ready to talk to anyone, including the “utterly confused”.
Meanwhile the Russian foreign ministry mocked foreign secretary Liz Truss for saying Britain was sending supplies to its “Baltic allies across the Black Sea” – two bodies of water that are on the opposite side of Europe.
The comments come as leaked texts suggest that a US-Russia arrangement on missiles could de-escalate the situation in Ukraine.
Documents published by the Spanish newspaper El Pais appear to show that the United States could be willing to enter into an agreement with Russia to ease tensions over missile deployments in Europe if Moscow steps back from the brink in Ukraine.
Putin and Johnson to speak on Wednesday evening
Boris Johnson will hold a call with Vladimir Putin on Wednesday evening to discuss the growing tensions on the Ukrainian border, Kremlin aide Yuri Ushakov has said.
The call comes after Russia called the UK “utterly confused” in its diplomatic efforts and referred to foreign secretary Liz Truss as “stupid”.
Mr Johnson travelled to Kyiv, Ukraine on Tuesday and used the visit to accuse Mr Putin of holding a gun to Ukraine’s head to secure his security demands.
Holly Bancroft2 February 2022 14:51
Russia calls Boris Johnson ‘utterly confused’ and attacks ‘stupidity’ of Liz Truss before Putin talks
Read the full story from my colleague Rory Sullivan here:
Holly Bancroft2 February 2022 14:40
Breaking: US deploying 3,000 troops to Europe to bolster Nato and deter Russia
President Joe Biden has reportedly directed Defence Department officials to deploy 2,000 US troops 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.
Read the full story here:
Holly Bancroft2 February 2022 14:27
Russia and China to discuss closer financial ties, Kremlin says
Russia and China will discuss closer gas and financial ties during President Putin’s visit to Beijing for the Winter Olympics, the Kremlin has said.
Mr Putin and Chinese premier Xi Jingping will have lunch together on Friday and are expected to talk about new deals relating to natural gas.
As many as 15 agreements could be signed, Kremlin aide Yuri Ushakov told reporters on Wednesday.
The Kremlin said that the possibility of Russia building a new gas pipeline to China through Mongolia was being looked at.
In light of threats of further sanctions on Russia from the UK and the US, the Kremlin said that Moscow and Beijing were making serious efforts to create joint financial infrastructure that could safeguard their co-operation from potential sanctions from third countries.
Holly Bancroft2 February 2022 14:19
What the world media thinks of Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson has been ridiculed by the international press after the publication of Sue Gray’s report into Downing Street parties.
Russian media have unsurprisingly criticised Mr Johnson, with the Gazprom Media-owned NTV channel suggesting he was the “most disliked, disrespected and ridiculed character in Britain”.
Read how the Russians and other media outlets around the world are talking about Boris Johnson here:
Holly Bancroft2 February 2022 14:08
We have a package of sanctions to ‘severely’ hurt Russia’s economy if it invades Ukraine – No10
Downing Street said it has a package of sanctions ready that will “severely” hurt Russia’s economy should Moscow order troops across the Ukrainian border.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman told reporters: “We don’t preview what the sanctions package might be.
“I think the Prime Minister was very clear yesterday about the automaticity of our sanctions package that we have ready to go.
“It will severely damage the economy of Russia and, as the Foreign Secretary made clear, be targeted as well at the Russian elite, but beyond that I’m not going into it.”
The No 10 spokesman added: “We do have a package of sanctions ready – we’ve been working on that with our Nato allies, so we have both discussions with Nato allies and we have our own approach as well.
“So, we are ready to act but, vitally, it is important our strong preference remains that Vladimir Putin pursues diplomatic efforts.”
Joe Middleton2 February 2022 13:41
‘We don’t trust British diplomacy’, says Russia’s deputy UN ambassador
Joe Middleton2 February 2022 13:19
Defence secretary Ben Wallace in Slovenia meeting allies
Defence secretary Ben Wallace is on a tour of European allies amid rising tensions between Russia and Ukraine.
Mr Wallace hosted a press conference with Slovenia’s defence minister on Wednesday. Matej Tonin, Slovenia’s defence minister told Mr Wallace that “it’s better to have a bad peace than a good war”.
“It is of key importance that as Nato allies, we send a clear message to President Putin that the price of war is simply too high to pay,” Mr Tonin said.
Holly Bancroft2 February 2022 13:15
PM Boris Johnson: ‘We stand shoulder to shoulder with Ukraine’
Prime minister Boris Johnson has said that the UK stands “shoulder to shoulder with Ukraine” and said that it was “vital” to find a diplomatic solution to tensions with Russia.
Speaking in the House of Commons at PMQs, Mr Johnson referred to his visit to Kyiv saying: “The mission was for our country to show that we stand with the people of Ukraine and that we stand for the sovereign integrity of Ukraine at a very difficult time.
“The situation is very perilous and the job of the UK is to lead the West in bringing together the most important countries in creating a package of economic sanctions that will deter President Putin from what I believe will be a disastrous miscalculation.”
“We are supplying lethal but defensive weaponry as well as training.
“It is vital that diplomacy finds a way forward”.
Holly Bancroft2 February 2022 12:56
Dutch PM: ‘Every effort must be made to defuse escalation’
Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte has said that “every effort must be made to defuse escalation and tensions” in the Ukraine crisis.
Speaking in the capital Kyiv, Mr Rutte said: “I believe that the only solution to de-escalation is diplomacy and dialogue, which should continue between Russia and the United States, Russia and Nato, and between the “Norman format” countries: Ukraine, Germany and France.”
Holly Bancroft2 February 2022 12:36
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