Intense diplomatic activity fails to ease tension around Ukraine

Diplomatic efforts marked by a frenzy of phone calls between Western leaders and Moscow have failed to ease tensions around Ukraine, with the Kremlin denouncing US ‘hysteria’ and Joe Biden threatening Vladimir Putin with ‘severe and swift repercussions’ in case of attack.

Washington insisted last Friday on the risk of an “imminent” invasion of Ukraine by Russia, which has massed more than 100,000 soldiers near the border and has just started military maneuvers in the Black Sea and in Belarus, framing de facto the country.

Such an invasion would have “swift and severe” consequences for Russia, warned yesterday, Saturday February 12, 2022, Joe Biden during an interview with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, who also spoke, according to the Kremlin, with his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko.

“The hysteria has reached its peak,” commented Vladimir Putin’s diplomatic adviser, Yuri Ushakov, while specifying that the two presidents had agreed “to continue contacts at all levels”.

The head of American diplomacy Antony Blinken warned yesterday, Saturday February 12, 2022, after his meeting with his counterpart Sergei Lavrov, against a possible Russian “provocation”, a pretext for war.

“No one should be surprised if Russia triggers a provocation or an incident which it then uses to justify a military action which it had planned all along,” he said.

“Weapons Delivery”

Since the first troop deployments near Ukraine in November, Moscow has denied any intention of invasion, but has called for an end to NATO expansion and Western support for this former Soviet republic, which she considers to be part of her sphere of influence.

During his discussion with French President Emmanuel Macron, Vladimir Putin criticized the “large-scale deliveries of modern armaments” to his neighbor, believing that they created “preconditions for possible aggressive actions by Ukrainian forces” in the Eastern Ukraine, where Russia has supported armed separatists for eight years.

Do not panic

The list of countries calling on their nationals to leave Ukraine continues to grow, including the United States, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Canada, Norway or again Australia, Japan and Israel.

The airline KLM announced yesterday, Saturday February 12, 2022, the suspension until further notice of flights to Ukraine.

Moscow also recalled some of its diplomatic staff, claiming to fear adverse “provocations”.

The United States also ordered the departure of most of the personnel of the American embassy in Kiev, noting that a Russian offensive could “begin at any time and without warning”.

Canada meanwhile announced yesterday, Saturday, to temporarily close its embassy in Kyiv and move its operations to a temporary office in Lviv, western Ukraine.

And Australia announced this Sunday, February 13, 2022 to evacuate its last diplomats still stationed in Kiev, also moving its activities to Lviv.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for his part once again deemed the American statements too alarmist.

“All this information (about a possible attack) only causes panic and does not help us,” he said.

In Kiev, thousands of demonstrators marched yesterday, Saturday, saying they refuse to give in to panic precisely, even if they take the threat seriously.

“Panic is useless. We must unite and fight for our independence,” says student Maria Chtcherbenko, holding a sign “I remain calm. I love Ukraine».


Adding to the tensions, Russia launched yesterday, Saturday February 12, 2022 new naval maneuvers in the Black Sea to practice “defending” Crimea, a peninsula annexed in 2014.

The Ministry of Defense also claimed that the Russian Navy had chased a US submarine from its waters in the Pacific Ocean on Saturday.

False, answered Washington: “there is no truth in the Russian assertions concerning our operations in their territorial waters”, denied the American army.

Westerners rule out committing their armies in the event of war, but have planned devastating economic reprisals.

This crisis is, according to Westerners, the most dangerous in Europe since the end of the Cold War.

The White House has already outlined the scenario for the Russian offensive, citing probable “aerial bombardment and missile fire” and a possible assault on the capital Kiev.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is to take up the torch, going to Kiev tomorrow, Monday February 14, 2022, and the next day, Tuesday February 15, to Moscow.

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