Joe Biden is “convinced, for the moment,” that Putin “has made up his mind” to invade Ukraine. Something that the Kremlin denies, which maintains a powerful military presence on the Ukrainian borders. Faced with this situation, with the conflict in Donbas worsening day by day, the president of the United States has announced that the heads of the respective diplomacies, Anthony Blinken and Sergei Lavrov, will meet “in Europe” on February 24.
The US president has appeared after the third telematic meeting with European leaders since the worsening of the crisis with Russia.
In his speech and in answers to questions from journalists, Biden has pointed to Russian attacks in Donbas, while calling Russian accusations that Kiev is also doing it disinformation. The US president has also accused Moscow of not carrying out the de-escalation that he had announced. According to the US government, the number of Russian soldiers in the area may reach 190,000.
“We have information capabilities,” Biden said as he left the press room. However, just a week ago the US said that the invasion would be in a matter of days, and even set February 16 as the probable date. “We believe that the Russian forces are planning to attack Ukraine in the next week, the next few days. We believe that they will attack the capital of Ukraine, Kiev, a city of 2.8 million innocent inhabitants,” added Biden, who also said: ” It is not too late to de-escalate and return to the negotiating table.”
In relation to the military maneuvers planned for this weekend by Putin with nuclear weapons, Biden has ruled out that Putin wants “not even remotely” to use nuclear weapons, and that he only wants to “try to convince the world that he has the capacity to change the dynamics in Europe”.
The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, for his part, stated after the meeting: “The latest developments on Russia and Ukraine were discussed in the call, and we called for an immediate de-escalation amid alarming information. The EU is committed to diplomacy and united to support Ukraine. Any new military aggression against Ukraine will have serious consequences and costs in response.”
The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said, for her part: “In tonight’s call, we share the concern about the situation in and around Ukraine, which remains threatening. There is still time for diplomacy and peaceful solution. But in case Russia opts for aggression, a strong sanctions package is ready. Ukraine is free and sovereign.”
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg himself explained: “Good call with the US president and transatlantic leaders on the current security crisis in and around Ukraine. We continue our diplomatic efforts and agree that any further aggression by Russia will have high cost”.
According to the Atlantic Alliance, “participants stressed that Russia’s military build-up in and around Ukraine continues, despite Moscow’s claims of a de-escalation, and reiterated their resounding call for Russia to resolve this crisis through diplomacy.” and dialogue, while emphasizing their support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz explained that “everyone agreed that the danger of a Russian attack on Ukraine was very real, and that Russia was expected to refrain from provocations and further escalation, and instead give a signal of de-escalation that was urgently needed and constructively accept the repeated offers of negotiation from the US and the allies”.
“The central task now is to keep the window open for diplomacy, and the latest Russian response to the US government must also be evaluated in this way,” the German government said: “The implementation of the Minsk agreements must continue with the support of Germany and France in the Normandy format”.
Tension deepens in Donbas
Precisely the Minsk agreements, to maintain the ceasefire in Donbas, seem precisely on hold. If this Thursday the head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell, spoke of pro-Russian bombings, this Friday it was Denis Pushilin, the head of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, who called for the evacuation of the area and refuge in Russia due to the attacks by the Ukrainian forces.
In addition to Federal Chancellor and US President Biden, Presidents Macron, Johannis and Duda, Prime Ministers Draghi, Johnson and Trudeau participated, as well as the Presidents of the European Commission, the President of the European Council and the Secretary General of NATO.
The president of the United States, Joe Biden, participated in the call; NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg; British Prime Minister Boris Johnson; Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau; French President Emmanuel Macron; German Chancellor Olaf Scholz; the Italian prime minister, Mario Draghi; the Polish president, Andrzej Duda; the Romanian president, Klaus Iohannis; as well as the president of the European Council, Council Charles Michel; and the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen.