Russia-Ukraine clash – Daily briefing | February 11th

High-stakes talks between Russia and the West have so far failed to defuse a tense standoff between the sides, with the United States warning of a serious risk of a Russian offensive against Ukraine.

As well as demanding a ban on Ukraine’s future NATO membership, Russia wants the Western alliance to return its forces to where they were in 1997, before members of Eastern Europe ‘Is not join.

Moscow has amassed some 140,000 near the border with Ukraine and in annexed Crimea, and his announcement of surprise military exercises with neighboring Belarus further stoked tensions.

NATO and the United States have called Russia’s demands “non-starters”, offering instead to open a dialogue with Russia on a host of lesser issues such as missile deployments and military exercises. Moscow said this was unacceptable and was awaiting written responses from the United States to each of its requests. The United States and NATO delivered their confidential written responses on January 26 and are still awaiting an official response from Moscow.

As diplomatic efforts continue, Russia has started large-scale joint military exercises with Belarus. The exercises, involving a large ground, air and naval presence on the Ukrainian border, are due to last from February 10 to 20.

February 11: What you need to know today

  • Russia and Ukraine failed to break through in the marathon talks in Berlin on Thursday. The Normandy format meetings mediated by France and Germany after “nearly nine hours of negotiations ended without any visible and tangible results expressed in documents”, lamented the Kremlin envoy, Dmitry Kozak. Kozak’s Ukrainian counterpart Andriy Yermak expressed hope that “everyone is determined to get a result”.
  • The French, German, Ukrainian and Russian representatives present at the Normandy format talks have agreed to meet in March.
  • Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Moscow’s relations with London were at an all-time low as he met British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace for rare talks amid rising tensions in About Ukraine. He said he hoped for talks “without any escalation and without raising the temperature even higher” in relations between Russia and the NATO bloc and accused the West of “gorging” Ukraine with weapons.
  • NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg warned on Friday of the “real risk of a new armed conflict in Europe” as NATO and Russia continue to increase their military presence around the Ukraine.
  • Ukraine downplayed US President Joe Biden’s speech on Friday to call American citizens to leave immediately. Biden on Thursday urged citizens to “leave now,” but in an attempt to calm fears, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said “this statement is not evidence of a radical change in the situation.”
  • Satellite images revealed a continued Russian military buildup near Ukraine on Friday as Russia’s joint military exercises with Belarus begin. the pictures appeared to show field hospitals set up in two different locations in Belarus.
  • The European Union on Thursday accused Russia of trying to divide EU members by sending letters to individual countries asking for clarification on their understanding of the “indivisible security” principle. “The EU has a common foreign and security policy and our aim is to act united on all key issues of common interest… This also includes coordinating responses to letters, as requested,” the chief said. of EU foreign policy, Josep Borrell, in a statement.
  • The Russian Foreign Ministry instead received a joint response from NATO and the EU, but dismissed it as disrespectful and lacking in substance. “Such a move can only be seen as a sign of diplomatic rudeness and disrespect for our request,” the ministry said. noted Friday.

AFP contributed reporting.

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