Top Story World

Putin oversees nuclear drills, U.S. says Russian forces ‘poised to strike’ Ukraine

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Image Credits: Sputnik/Aleksey Nikolskyi/Kremlin via REUTERS.

In picture above: Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko observe training launches of ballistic missiles as part of the exercise of the strategic deterrence force, in Moscow, Russia February 19, 2022. Sputnik/Aleksey Nikolskyi/Kremlin via REUTERS

Russia’s strategic nuclear forces held exercises overseen by President Vladimir Putin on Saturday, and Washington accused Russian troops massed near Ukraine’s border of advancing and being “poised to strike”.

With Western fears of war rising, the White House said U.S President Joe Biden’s national security team told him they still believed Russia could launch an attack in Ukraine “at any time” and he planned to convene his top advisers on Sunday to discuss the crisis.

Foreign ministers from the G7 group of rich nations said they had seen no evidence Russia is reducing its military activity in the area and remained “gravely concerned” about the situation.

After Kyiv and Moscow traded accusations over new shelling near the border, France and Germany urged all or some of their citizens in Ukraine to leave. U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Russian forces were beginning to “uncoil and move closer” to the border.

“We hope he (Putin) steps back from the brink of conflict,” Austin told a news conference in Lithuania, saying an invasion of Ukraine was not inevitable.

Russia ordered the military build-up while demanding NATO prevent Ukraine from ever joining the alliance but says Western warnings that it is planning to invade Ukraine are hysterical and dangerous. Moscow says it is pulling back, but Washington and allies say the build-up is mounting.

Also read  Grooming Centre launches inspiring photobook on 30 tenacious women

Washington and NATO say Moscow’s main demands are non-starters, but in Ukraine fears are growing over Putin’s plans.

Venting his frustration at a security conference in Munich, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said the global security architecture was “almost broken”. He urged the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, Germany and Turkey to meet to draw up new security guarantees for his country.

“The rules that the world agreed on decades ago no longer work,” Zelenskiy said. “They do not keep up with new threats … This is a cough syrup when you need a coronavirus vaccine.”

World Bank President David Malpass told Zelenskiy on Saturday the bank was readying funding to Ukraine of up to $350 million. (REUTERS)

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.