- Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Sunday evening that Ukraine had requested a meeting with Russia within 48 hours.
- German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will hold talks with the presidents of Ukraine and Russia on Monday and Tuesday.
- U.S. national security advisor Jake Sullivan told CNN on Sunday that a Russian attack on Ukraine could happen this week.
Speaking to CNBC’s Silvia Amaro on Monday, Ukrainian ambassador to the U.K., Vadym Prystaiko, said that there was intel that suggested a Russian invasion on Wednesday was possible, reports CNBC.
“This is specifically made public to tell the aggressor that we know about the plans, and if they don’t happen it could be because the public already knew that they are plotting something,” he said.
However, he added that there was also intel that implied alternative invasion timeframes.
“But regardless of the intel, the problem is that Ukrainians are pushed to panic,” Prystaiko said. “Airlines are canceling flights, money is being withdrawn by investors. Ukrainians feel that they have been abandoned.”
The military dills
An estimated 30,000 Russian troops are currently engaged in a 10-day program of military drills with neighboring Belarus, which also shares a border with Ukraine.
The drills, widely seen as a display of strength by Russia, come as over 100,000 soldiers, tanks, missiles and even fresh blood supplies have been moved to Russia’s border with Ukraine.
Moscow has insisted it has no plans to invade Ukraine.
Ukraine has also accused Russia of creating a sea blockade, according to the BBC, with officials claiming the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea have been blocked by Russian forces, which are set to begin naval drills this week.
Russia invaded and annexed Crimea, a peninsula in Ukraine’s south, in 2014.
Prystaiko told CNBC on Monday that the Ukrainian government had not yet had a response from Moscow regarding its request for a meeting.
He added Ukraine was in a “very difficult” and “very unfair” situation, noting that the country was still living with the concessions it made under the Vienna Document after Russia annexed Crimea.
“But we are still [using the processes of] the same document to try to find a way to diplomatically diffuse the situation,” he said. “It’s not just this [situation]. We’ve been in a war for seven years.”
The call with Biden
U.S. President Joe Biden spoke with his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, in a call on Sunday.
“President Biden reaffirmed the commitment of the United States to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” White House officials said in a press release.
“President Biden made clear that the United States would respond swiftly and decisively, together with its Allies and partners, to any further Russian aggression against Ukraine. The two leaders agreed on the importance of continuing to pursue diplomacy and deterrence in response to Russia’s military build-up on Ukraine’s borders.”
It came after a call between Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday, in which Biden reiterated that the U.S. and its allies and partners would “respond decisively and impose swift and severe costs on Russia.”
Biden told Putin that a Russian invasion of Ukraine would cause “widespread human suffering” and “diminish Russia’s standing,” the White House said in a statement, with the U.S. president adding that although the U.S. and its allies were prepared to engage in diplomacy, they were also “equally prepared for other scenarios.”
U.S. allies, including the U.K. and France, have also been in talks with Russian ministers in recent weeks in a bid to resolve the tensions diplomatically.
U.S. winds down presence in Ukraine
Last week, Biden issued a warning that U.S. citizens should leave Ukraine immediately, telling NBC News that “things could go crazy quickly” in the country.
However, he ruled out sending U.S. troops into Ukraine, saying there was no scenario in which he could see this happening — including as part of an evacuation scheme for U.S. nationals. Some airlines have reportedly canceled or diverted flights to Ukraine as tensions continue to mount.
On Saturday, the Pentagon ordered all U.S. troops in Ukraine to leave the country and reposition elsewhere in Europe.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told a news conference in Melbourne, Australia, on Friday that the government was continuing to “draw down” its embassy in Ukraine, adding that “an invasion could begin at any time.”
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