NewsUkraine: Russia on the verge of invasion - US...

Ukraine: Russia on the verge of invasion – US making preparations

The Ukraine conflict continues to escalate.

  • Ukraine crisis: Russia* is holding several military exercises in Ukraine’s neighborhood – states are calling on employees to leave Ukraine.
  • USA*: US President Joe Biden* warns US nationals and directs clear words towards Vladimir Putin*.
  • Germany and Chancellor Olaf Scholz* (SPD*) are still looking for a diplomatic solution.

Update from Tuesday, February 15, 2022, 1:28 p.m.: All other developments in the Ukraine conflict can be found in our new news ticker.

+++ 10:00 a.m .: The United States are acting on their warnings of an impending invasion of Ukraine by Russia. In addition to regular US citizens, the US-born conflict monitors from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) were also asked to leave Ukraine. According to the US State Department, the organization’s employees are at high risk. Around 680 participants from 43 countries were recently involved in the mission.

The primary task of the OSCE observers was to check whether the agreed ceasefire in eastern Ukraine was being observed. The mission was established following Russia’s annexation of Crimea in March 2014. Since then, more than 14,000 people have been killed in the east of the country. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia said that the withdrawal of OSCE observers from Ukraine is seriously worrying. Accordingly, the intervention by US politicians is “attempts to manipulate the mission.”

Ukraine conflict: “On the verge of war in Europe” – Russia is about to invade

Update from Monday, February 14th, 2022, 7:08 a.m .: Before Chancellor Olaf Scholz traveled to Kiev, the Ukrainian ambassador in Berlin, Andrij Melnyk, reiterated his government’s demand for heavy weapons from Germany. Ukraine needs 12,000 anti-tank missiles and a thousand anti-aircraft missiles to defend itself against a Russian attack, Melnyk told the Bild-TV broadcaster on Sunday evening (February 13, 2022). After his visit to Kiev, Scholz will travel to Moscow on Tuesday (February 15, 2022).

Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) warned of a “precarious situation”. However, she said on Sunday evening (February 13, 2022) in the ARD Tagesthemen that there were “no signs” so far “that the military conflict has already been decided”. Scholz wants to talk about further disarmament steps and more transparency on both sides in Kiev and Moscow.

Ukraine-Konflikt

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Heavily armed Russian soldiers. (archive photo)

Ukraine conflict: “On the verge of war in Europe” – Russia is about to invade

+++ 10:49 p.m .: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky invites US President Joe Biden to visit his home country soon. Zelensky told Biden in a phone call that such a visit could be important for stabilizing the current situation and contribute to de-escalation, Zelensky’s office said. The White House initially did not comment on this. The broadcaster CNN, citing Ukrainian sources, reported that Biden did not take the idea positively.

+++ 8:00 p.m .: Ukraine calls for talks with Russia within 48 hours within the framework of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Foreign Minister Dmitro Kuleba tweeted that the concentration of the Russian military near Ukraine and in the annexed Crimea should be discussed together with the other OSCE members. If Russia is serious, it must live up to its commitment to military transparency to ease tensions and increase security for all sides.

Ukraine-Konflikt

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A Russian tank at a military exercise. (archive image)

Ukraine conflict: “On the verge of war in Europe” – Russia is about to invade

+++ 17:23: Before Chancellor Olaf Scholz travels to Kiev and Moscow, warnings of a Russian attack on Ukraine are increasing. While the United States again stated on Sunday that they considered such a military strike to be possible at any time, politicians in the German governing coalition also expressed increasing concern. “It may be that we are on the verge of a war in Europe,” said Federal Minister of Economics and Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck to the TV station Welt. SPD co-boss Lars Klingbeil made a similar statement there.

“We can avert war in the middle of Europe,” he said, adding: “It’s a no-brainer.” US President Joe Biden’s security adviser, Jake Sullivan, confirmed on CNN that according to US findings it was a military approach Russia vs Ukraine also possible before the end of the Winter Olympics in Beijing on Saturday. Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier addressed Russian President Vladimir Putin with a public appeal for peace. He has repeatedly denied having plans of attack.

Ukraine conflict: “Very serious threat”

+++ 4.20 p.m .: Chancellor Olaf Scholz described the conflict on the border between Russia and Ukraine before his trip to both countries as a “very, very serious threat to peace in Europe.” In the event of military aggression against Ukraine, the endanger their territorial integrity and sovereignty, there would be “tough reactions and sanctions,” said the SPD politician on Sunday (February 13, 2022). These have been carefully prepared and are effective immediately.

Scholz initially plans to travel to Ukraine on Monday (February 14, 2022) to hold talks with President Zelenskyi. The next day, Chancellor Vladimir Putin wants to meet in Russia. “In both cases, the point is that we explore how we can secure peace in Europe,” said Scholz.

Gemeinsame Übungen der Militärs von Russland und Belarus.

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Joint exercises of the military of Russia and Belarus. The Ukraine conflict continues to escalate.

Ukraine conflict: “Extremely dangerous” – Russia is about to invade

+++ 3.16 p.m .: Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck feels confirmed in his position that Ukraine should be supplied with weapons for self-defense. That is now happening via NATO, the Greens politician tells the TV station Welt. “And Ukraine gets weapons. I took note of the fact that Germany is holding back, i.e. not giving anything to Ukraine that has a lethal effect – i.e. nothing that shoots.”

+++ 1.40 p.m .: Chancellor Olaf Scholz will travel to Kiev on Monday to hold further diplomatic talks. In the run-up to the meeting, the federal government promised armaments aid – below the threshold of lethal weapons – and economic aid for Ukraine. The Ukrainian government had previously compiled a wish list for weapons. According to ZDF, the federal government is checking the list. However, no concrete commitments are expected for Monday, according to those close to the government. Quite in comparison to economic aid: According to the report, details will be discussed in Kiev on Sunday afternoon.

The federal government announced that the situation in the Ukraine conflict is currently “extremely dangerous”. The “worrying overall picture” will be discussed with the Ukrainian President Selenskyj.

+++ 1:00 p.m .: Russia’s ambassador to Sweden caused outrage with an interview. * Viktor Tatarinzew told the Aftonbladet newspaper in the face of the threat of sanctions from Western countries: “Excuse my language, but we don’t give a damn about all your sanctions.” Russia already holds numerous According to Tatarintsev, sanctions would have “a certain positive effect on our economy and agriculture”.

“New sanctions are nothing positive, but they are also not as bad as the West claims,” said the Russian ambassador to Sweden. He accused the West of not understanding Russia’s mentality. “The more pressure the West puts on Russia, the stronger the Russian reaction will be,” he said confidently. Previously, new details about the possible invasion of Russia in Ukraine had become known (see update from 11.30 a.m.). A Union intelligence expert had also classified the probability of an invasion (see update from 10:30 a.m.).

Ukraine conflict: satellite images are said to show troop movements

+++ 11.30 a.m .: The CIA’s assessment that Russia is about to invade Ukraine was based on satellite images. They are intended to show previously undiscovered troop movements on the Crimean peninsula, in Russia and in Belarus.*

+++ 10.30 a.m .: Roderich Kiesewetter, CDU intelligence expert, considers an invasion of Russia to be a realistic scenario. From a “military and geostrategic point of view,” Russia had a time window in February “to intervene militarily in Ukraine” or “to occupy geostrategically important parts such as the Mariupol region,” Kiesewetter told the Handelsblatt. “In February it will be decided whether Russia’s previously hybrid war will also become conventional,” emphasized the expert.

Ukraine conflict: Russia faces invasion

+++ 9.15 a.m .: Kiev Mayor Vitali Klitschko has again warned of a Russian invasion of Ukraine. He emphasized: “We are prepared for the worst.” Klitschko also demanded: “The world must now stand by us.”

+++ 8.30 a.m .: The USA warned early on Saturday morning of Russia’s plans to invade Ukraine next week. The specific date given was Wednesday (February 16, 2022). The warning is based on an assessment by the CIA secret service. According to the US government, this is based on satellite images of a commercial nature, which show Russian troop movements and were probably not previously available in this quality.

US media, such as the New York Times and the Washington Post, later reported that the warning was a tactic designed to give diplomacy more time. President Joe Biden made a statement on Saturday by speaking to Vladimir Putin on the phone. In the conversation, Biden warned Putin of the consequences of a Russian invasion of Ukraine. Russia announced that it would carefully examine the demands and proposals made by the United States. Chancellor Olaf Scholz will meet Putin on Tuesday to help de-escalate.*

+++ 7.30 a.m .: The US embassy in the Ukrainian capital Kiev has apparently destroyed numerous important documents. An official told the New York Times that “appropriate steps” had been taken. They want to be prepared for a Russian invasion. The embassy staff was also massively reduced. The plans for an embassy evacuation had already become known on Saturday night: According to this, the headquarters are to be relocated to the west of the country (see update from February 12, 2022, 8:30 a.m.).

Ukrainische Soldaten stehen zusammen und rauchen. Der Aufmarsch russischer Truppen an der ukrainischen Grenze sorgt im Westen seit Wochen für Ängste vor einem möglichen Angriff Moskaus auf die Ukraine, was der Kreml dementiert.

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Ukrainian soldiers stand together and smoke. The deployment of Russian troops on the Ukrainian border has been causing fears in the West of a possible attack by Moscow on Ukraine for weeks, which the Kremlin denies.

+++ 6.30 a.m .: The United States has contradicted Russia in the case of the alleged submarine incident. A US Navy spokesman for the Indo-Pacific said: “Russian claims that we are operating in their territorial waters are not true.” He would not comment on the exact location of US boats, “but we fly, sail and… operate safely in international waters,” the spokesman said.

The Russian defense minister had previously reported a clash between a Russian “destroyer” and a US submarine. The submarine entered Russian waters during a Russian naval exercise off the Kuril Islands. This was reported by the Interfax news agency. Russia then summoned the US military attaché (see update from February 12, 2022, 5:00 p.m.).

Ukraine conflict: Biden warns of “great suffering”

Update from Sunday, February 13th, 2022, 5:30 a.m.: The situation in the Ukraine conflict remains tense. After the USA warned of an immediate Russian invasion on Saturday, numerous statements followed. The Kremlin has repeatedly denied reports of a possible invasion, Ukraine itself was not aware of any Russian plans and Germany, for example, issued a travel warning.

US President Joe Biden warned of an invasion of Russia in a phone call with Vladimir Putin. This would “cause great human suffering and diminish Russia’s standing,” Biden said. Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has repeatedly stated that one must be prepared for all scenarios. “Our message is the same everywhere: we are ready for dialogue, but renewed aggression against Ukraine would have a drastic price. Because we don’t see any signs of de-escalation at the military level, on the contrary.” The signs in the Ukraine conflict do not actually point to de-escalation: the Russian troop build-up in Belarus has been accelerated since Friday. Around 30,000 military personnel conducted exercises there.

Ukraine-Konflikt

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Footage from the Russian Ministry of Defense of the military exercise.

+++ 10:10 p.m .: The Dutch airline KLM announced on Saturday (February 12, 2022) that it would no longer fly to destinations in Ukraine until further notice. When asked, Lufthansa also told the AFP news agency that it was monitoring the situation in Ukraine “very closely”. “A cessation of air traffic is being examined, but there is no decision on this at the moment,” the German airline told the agency. The French airline Air France made a similar statement.

A flight to Kiev planned for Saturday evening had already been canceled by the Dutch airline KLM after the government in The Hague had published a travel warning. In July 2014, a Malaysia Airlines plane that had taken off from Amsterdam was shot down over eastern Ukraine. All 283 passengers, including 196 Dutch, and 15 crew members were killed.

In addition to the Netherlands, several other European countries, including Germany, Spain, Italy and the Netherlands, called on their citizens to leave Ukraine on Saturday and issued travel warnings. Great Britain, Australia and the USA, among others, had previously done so. The US State Department announced on Saturday that it would also reduce staff at its embassy in Kiev “to an absolute minimum”. The US military is also withdrawing forces from Ukraine who were there for training purposes.

Ukraine conflict: Biden and Macron on the phone with Putin, Scholz travels to Kiev and Moscow

+++ 19:23: According to the White House, US President Joe Biden continues to promote diplomacy in a telephone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Biden has also reiterated that Russia must expect a “quick and decisive response” if it invades Ukraine. According to information from those close to Biden, the phone call did not lead to a significant change in the previous positions. It is also unclear whether Russia is willing to rely on diplomacy. It could also be that Putin continues to rely on military action.

+++ 5:55 p.m .: President Vladimir Putin has rejected reports of an imminent Russian attack on Ukraine as “provocative speculation”. In a phone call with French President Emmanuel Macron, the Russian head of state also accused Kiev’s western allies of supplying Ukraine with “modern weapons”, as the Kremlin announced on Saturday (February 12, 2022). “Conditions are being created for possible aggressive actions by Ukrainian security forces in Donbass.”

Late on Saturday afternoon (February 12, 2022), US President Joe Biden also called Putin, as the White House announced. According to the Elysée Palace, a talk between Biden, Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj was also scheduled for the same day.

Ukraine conflict: U.S. submarine incident in Pacific

+++ 5:00 p.m .: According to information from Moscow, a Russian warship drove a US submarine near the Kuril Islands in the Pacific. The destroyer Marshal Shaposhnikov has tracked down a US submarine in Russian waters near the Kuril Islands, the Defense Ministry said in Moscow on Saturday (February 12, 2022). After the submarine ignored requests to heave to, the Russian destroyer “took appropriate action,” it said without further explanation. The US submarine then left Russian waters “at top speed”.

The incident happened against the background of high tensions between the US and Russia over the Ukraine crisis. According to Western sources, Russia has massed more than 100,000 soldiers on the Ukrainian border in recent weeks. The troop build-up and Russian military exercises in neighboring Belarus and in the Black Sea are fueling fears in the West of an invasion of Ukraine. Moscow rejects any attack plans and at the same time accuses Kiev and NATO of “provocations”.

+++ 15:42: According to US officials, the United States is withdrawing around 150 soldiers responsible for military training from Ukraine. The background is the concern of an invasion of Russia, explain two officials familiar with the matter. At the same time, the West’s diplomatic efforts are ongoing in the face of growing concerns about an invasion by Russian troops. US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin wanted to call each other on Saturday. According to the Russian news agency Tass, Putin is also expecting talks with French President Emmanuel Macron on Saturday.

The announced talks have already taken place between the defense ministers of the USA and Russia, Lloyd Austin and Sergei Shoigu; this was confirmed by both sides. The US Department of Defense also said it was about the deployment of Russian forces near Ukraine and in Crimea, which was annexed by Russia. The Russian news agency Interfax also reports on the phone call and cites information from the Russian armed forces.

Ukraine conflict: Russia on the verge of invasion – German government issues urgent warning

+++ 2:00 p.m .: After renewed US warnings of a Russian invasion of Ukraine in the coming week, the government in Kiev was surprised. “If you or anyone else has additional information about a 100 percent invasion on February 16 [Feb. Red.], then please give us this information,” President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Saturday. The government is well aware that there are risks.

Ukraine-Konflikt

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Heavily armed Russian soldiers. (archive photo)

Still, there would be too many reports in the public space of a major war by Russia against Ukraine. Kiev is prepared for everything. But: “The best friend for the enemy is panic in our country,” says Zelenskyj. All this information would only create panic and would not help Ukraine.

Ukraine conflict: Federal government with urgent warning

+++ 1:20 p.m .: After the Federal Foreign Office issued a travel warning for Ukraine, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock spoke in detail about Germany’s further action in the Ukraine conflict. “We will keep our embassy in Kiev open,” she said in Cairo, Egypt, on Saturday afternoon. However, the embassy staff will be massively reduced, according to Baerbock (see update from 12 p.m.). This applies, for example, to the Society for International Cooperation (GIZ).

Baerbock explained that the meeting between Olaf Scholz and Vladimir Putin on Tuesday was of central importance: “We are ready for dialogue,” stressed the Foreign Minister. However, one must be prepared for all possible scenarios.

Ukraine conflict: Russia launches naval maneuver

+++ 12.45 p.m .: Russia started a naval maneuver in the Black Sea, near the Crimean peninsula, in the middle of the Ukraine conflict. The Russian Defense Ministry announced on Saturday morning that “more than 30 ships of the Black Sea Fleet” had set sail from Sevastopol and Novorossiysk. The background to Russia’s military exercise is to protect “the seacoast of the Crimean peninsula, the bases of the Black Sea Fleet forces” and the facilities of the “economic sector” from possible “military threats”, it said.

The latest naval maneuvers are fueling fears in the West of an invasion of Ukraine. The US government has warned of this several times. According to an assessment by the CIA, an invasion is expected in the coming weeks (see updates from 6:00 a.m. and 8:30 a.m.).

Ukraine conflict: Federal government with urgent warning

+++ 12.00 p.m .: The German federal government has called for Ukraine to leave immediately. “If you are currently in Ukraine, check whether your presence is mandatory. If not, leave at short notice, ”said the Federal Foreign Office. The US had previously warned of a Russian invasion on Wednesday (see updates from 6 a.m. and 8:30 a.m.).

Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock also announced that Germany will withdraw embassy staff that are not absolutely necessary from Ukraine. Family members of embassy employees should also leave immediately.

+++ 11.30 a.m .: The Russian embassy in the USA has rejected the CIA’s warnings of an invasion of Ukraine as “unfounded”. “Alarmism” is currently being spread without having any evidence. This was announced by Ambassador Anatoly Antonov. The US is engaged in a “propaganda campaign” against Russia.

Ukraine conflict: US plans to evacuate embassy

+++ 08.30 a.m .: The USA is apparently planning to evacuate its embassy in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev. This was reported by the AP news agency on Saturday morning. Accordingly, the US State Department published plans during the night for 200 embassy employees to leave the city.

For the time being, a transfer within Ukraine is planned: in the extreme west of the country, near the border with Poland. They should not be taken out of the country to maintain the diplomatic presence. Already on Friday (02/11/2022) all US citizens were asked to leave Ukraine. “The danger is great,” said national security adviser Jack Sullivan. The CIA expects an invasion of Russia on Wednesday (see update from 6 a.m.).

Ukraine conflict: Biden on the phone with Putin

+++ 6.45 a.m .: The situation in the Ukraine conflict continues to deteriorate. According to media reports, Russia is on the verge of an invasion (see update from 6 a.m.). This is one of the reasons why a phone call between Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden was scheduled for Saturday. “They will speak on Saturday morning,” a US government official said on Friday. Russia initially suggested a phone call for Monday, the spokesman said. “We then suggested Saturday, and they accepted it.” Saturday morning in Washington DC corresponds to noon or early afternoon in Germany.

Ukraine conflict: Russia is about to invade

Update from Saturday, February 12th, 2022, 6 a.m.: Russia will apparently invade Ukraine. Media reports suggest so. Accordingly, the US government expects an invasion in the coming week. This is reported by the news magazine Spiegel. The US medium PBS News Hour had previously reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin had informed the military of his decision. Part of it were therefore concrete routes. According to the reports, next Wednesday (02/16/2022) is set as the time of the invasion.

“As previously stated, we are in a window where an invasion could begin at any time.” This could also be during the 2022 Winter Olympics*, which are currently taking place in China*. The US State Department has already urged US citizens to leave Ukraine immediately.

(df/nak/lm/tu/marv/na/vbu with dpa/AFP) *fr.de is an offer from IPPEN.MEDIA .

Picture list: © Marco Longari / AFP

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