Ukrainians rally in support of government amid tensions with Russia
With 130,000 Russian troops massed along Ukraine’s border, the US has claimed war could begin at any moment and, along with several other countries, has advised its citizens to leave the country immediately.
The call comes just hours after the US moved troops out of Ukraine and ordered the evacuation of most of its embassy staff from Kiev. The Pentagon pulled out nearly 160 members of the Florida National Guard who had been in the country since November.
A student who landed in the UK on one of the first commercial flights out of Kyiv since the warning said it caused “quite a panic”. Passengers arrived at Gatwick Airport on a direct flight from the Ukrainian capital shortly after noon on Saturday, just hours after the Foreign Office warned UK nationals in the country, thought to number in the low thousands, to “leave now while commercial means are still available”.
US denies carrying out military operations in Russian territory
The US did not carry out military operations in Russian territorial waters, a military spokesperson said on Saturday.
It follows rumours that a Russian naval vessel chased away a US submarine in Russian waters in the Pacific.
“There is no truth to the Russian claims of our operations in their territorial waters,” Captain Kyle Raines, a military spokesman, said in a statement.
“I will not comment on the precise location of our submarines but we do fly, sail, and operate safely in international waters.”
Emily Atkinson13 February 2022 02:00
Germany’s foreign minister says Ukraine crisis is escalating
Germany is making all efforts to find a diplomatic solution to mounting tensions between Russia and Ukraine, the country’s foreign minister Annalena Baerbock said today.
“We must be prepared for all scenarios,” Baerbock told a news conference in Cairo.
It comes after Berlin urged citizens to leave Ukraine as Chancellor Olaf Scholz prepares to visit to the country and Russia for talks next week.
Emily Atkinson13 February 2022 01:00
Watch: Advice to flee Ukraine ‘caused panic’, says British citizen leaving Ukraine
Advice to flee Ukraine ’caused panic’, says British citizen leaving Ukraine
Emily Atkinson13 February 2022 00:00
‘Whiff of Munich’ from West over Ukraine crisis, says Ben Wallace
Ben Wallace, the defence secretary, has likened some Western diplomatic efforts to ease the Ukraine crisis to appeasement, saying there is a “whiff of Munich in the air”.
In an interview with the Sunday Times, he said a Russian invasion of Ukraine is now “highly likely” and that the size of its military presence on the border was such that Moscow could “launch an offensive at any time”.
“The worrying thing is that, despite the massive amount of increased diplomacy, that military build-up has continued,” he said. “It has not paused, it has continued.”
He added that Putin could back down “but there is a whiff of Munich in the air from some in the West.”
Alastair Jamieson has the story:
Emily Atkinson12 February 2022 23:48
Hungarian PM warns of refugee wave if Russia invades Ukraine
Right-wing populist leader Viktor Orban, speaking in an annual address that this year kicked off his political campaign for Hungary’s parliamentary election on April 3, urged a peaceful resolution to the rising tensions in Europe that have stemmed from fears of an imminent Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Orban — a firm opponent of any types of immigration — said it was in Hungary’s best interest to “avoid war,” which he said would cause a wave of Ukrainian refugees and a disruption of the economy.
Emily Atkinson12 February 2022 23:30
Australian government to evacuate Kyiv embassy
Australia’s foreign minister has announced the country has decided to evacuate its embassy in Ukraine’s capital amid fears of an imminent Russian invasion.
Marise Payne said the government had temporarily suspended operations at the Ukrainian embassy, which is will instead move to a temporary office in Lviv.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said: “Our advice to them is very clear: This is a very dangerous situation and for your own safety you should seek to make your way out of Ukraine. It will be a very volatile situation if there is conflict there,” he said.
Emily Atkinson12 February 2022 23:10
Foreign office must learn from ‘chaos’ of Kabul in assisting Ukraine – Labour
Ministers must learn lessons from the “chaos” of the Afghanistan evacuation to help people fleeing Ukraine in the event of a Russian invasion, Labour has said.
With memories still fresh of the challenges faced as MPs tried to help constituents leave Kabul as the Taliban took over, her Labour shadow David Lammy called for a series of assurances.
He asked whether phone lines will be staffed 24/7 so parliamentarians can help constituency cases, if extra resources are in place to process visas, and if embassy staff are being bolstered in neighbouring nations.
Mr Lammy also asked what conversations were being conducted with the UN refugee agency, the International Committee of the Red Cross and non-governmental organisations in the event of “large-scale movements of displaced people”.
“The opposition stands united with the Government in the face of Russian aggression and in support of Ukraine‘s sovereignty,” he wrote.
“However, following the chaos of the evacuation from Afghanistan, we ask the Government for reassurance that the right lessons have been learned.
“The first duty of any government is to keep its people safe. The Government must act now to ensure it is prepared to provide safety for British citizens in case of any incursion.”
Ministers have ruled out RAF airlifts out of Kyiv, as seen in Afghanistan, in part because of the nature of the aerial warfare that would be likely in Ukraine.
Emily Atkinson12 February 2022 22:55
Watch: Germany’s foreign minister says Ukraine crisis is escalating
Germany’s foreign minister says Ukraine crisis is escalating
Emily Atkinson12 February 2022 22:35
‘Ukrainians will resist’: People take to Kyiv streets as Russian invasion looms – in pictures
Thousands of Ukrainian’s today took to the streets of the country’s capital to parade a united front in the face of the threat of Russian invasion.
Some carried signs, while others waved flags – joining together to sing the national anthem.
Emily Atkinson12 February 2022 22:15
Russia could launch offensive ‘at any time’, says UK defence minister
The UK defence secretary has said he has a “genuine fear” about what a potential Russian invasion into Ukraine would mean for European security.
Speaking in an exclusive interview for The Times, Ben Wallace said that, judging by the number of Russian troops now massed on the border with Ukraine, Moscow could “launch an offensive at any time”.
“I definitely have a genuine fear about what it means for European security,” he told the newspaper.
“The potential of millions of displaced people — refugees — pouring from one European country to another hasn’t been seen since the war and could potentially have a massive impact.
He added: “I worry about why a president of Russia would do this when he doesn’t need to, and what that says about him as a leader and where he thinks his future is, and what else he has an eye on — when in his own essay he wrote last July he makes it clear he has his eye on quite a lot more than just the Ukraine.
“If that is his disposition and his view of the world and he acts on it, and Europe either does nothing about it or he is successful, he will go somewhere else, potentially.
“So I think we have to be really worried about what it means about the future of the Russian government and what they really think about the world and its relationship with Europe.”
Emily Atkinson12 February 2022 22:00
Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism
By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists
Already have an account? sign in