September 29, 2022

Ukraine Wants To Meet With Russia Within 48 Hours To Discuss Preparations

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Over the rising tensions on its border, Ukraine has requested a meeting with Russia and other members of a crucial European security group.

Dmytro Kuleba, Russia’s foreign minister, said the country had rejected formal requests to justify the force build-up.

The next step, he said, would be to request a meeting within the next 48 hours to discuss Russia’s objectives.

Despite the presence of 100,000 soldiers on Ukraine’s borders, Russia has denied any ambitions to invade the country.

However, with the United States warning that Moscow could launch air strikes “at any time,” more than a dozen countries have encouraged their nationals to flee Ukraine.

Vadym Prystaiko, Ukraine’s ambassador to London, has walked back comments he made to the BBC in which he suggested Ukraine was willing to be “flexible” on its desire to join Nato, which would have been a big concession to Russia.

However, in a subsequent interview, he stated that Ukraine had a constitutional obligation to join Nato and that whether Ukraine would be allowed relied on the “readiness of Nato itself.”

The UK’s Armed Forces Minister, James Heappey, stated that whatever Ukraine decides, the UK will support it.

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Ukraine has asked Russia to justify its army buildup through the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). OSCE members can request information on a member’s military actions under the Vienna Document, to which Russia is a signatory.

“If Russia is serious about the indivisibility of security in the OSCE space, it must follow through on its commitment to military transparency in order to de-escalate tensions and improve overall security,” Mr Kuleba added.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky, meanwhile, slammed the “panic” that such accusations could cause and said he had seen no indication that Russia was plotting an invasion in the next days.

He chatted for over an hour on the phone with US Vice President Joe Biden on Sunday. President Biden reaffirmed US support for Ukraine, according to the White House, and both leaders agreed on “the need of continuing to pursue diplomacy and deterrence.”

The president of Ukraine thanked the US for its “unwavering support” and, in the end, President Zelensky urged the US president to visit Ukraine, according to a statement released after the call. The White House has made no comment on the invitation.

The day before, an hour-long call between President Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin failed to produce a breakthrough.

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