The President of France, Emmanuel Macron redoubled his diplomatic efforts this Sunday to prevent the situation between Russia and Ukraine from degenerating. with respective telephone conversations with the Russian leader Vladimir Putin and the Ukrainian Volodímir Zelenski, with whom he had already spoken on Saturday.
The conversation with Putin began at 10 am local time and lasted an hour and a quarter. Right after, according to the Elysee, he called Zelensky again, something that was not initially planned.
From the French Presidency it had been pointed out on Saturday that Macron is making “the last possible and necessary efforts to avoid a major conflict”, because “the risk of falling into a spiral of violence is currently very high”.
Today, Russia and Belarus made the decision to extend the inspection time of their joint forces beyond this Sunday, when the Allied Determination 2022 military exercises were scheduled to end.
Elysée sources pointed out on Saturday that Macron does not rule out going to Moscow and Kiev again to try to lower the tensionwhich has risen considerably in recent days.
Zelensky yesterday called for a meeting of the UN Security Council in view of the military escalation around Ukraine, as well as a greater commitment from the international community and a review of the current global security architecture.
In his first conversation this weekend with Macron, he conveyed to the French head of state his willingness not to respond to Russian “provocations” and asked him to express to Putin that he remains open to dialogue.
The United States warns that sanctions against Russia could impact Europe
The vice president of the United States, Kamala Harris, indicated this Sunday that the sanctions that would be imposed against Russia in the event of an invasion of
Ukraine could have an impact on energy pricesalthough his Government is taking measures to “mitigate” said cost.
“We are taking very specific and appropriate steps to mitigate that cost if it happens,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference in southern Germany.
Harris said the potential steps would be taken in coordination with America’s allies, “each of whom has their individual priorities and concerns about how what we do will impact their country, their economies and their security.”
In this sense, he indicated that the perspectives of these countries are part of the conversations on how to coordinate a package of measures “that achieves its objective”, which is “to dissuade Russia from invading a sovereign nation”.
Asked about the declarations of the Ukrainian president Volodimir Zelenski, who yesterday asked for “sincerity” from NATO in the face of the possibility of a hypothetical entry of
Ukraine, Harris indicated that “their situation must be recognized.” “His country is virtually surrounded by Russian troops,” he said, noting that Zelensky attended the conference on Saturday “to make it clear that he is not alone.”
(You can read: Russia tested missiles; NATO and the US warn of an ‘imminent attack’ on Ukraine).
Boris Johnson says Russia is planning ‘biggest war in Europe since 1945’
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson accused Russia on Sunday of preparing “the biggest war in Europe since 1945” with a full invasion of Ukraine.
In an interview with the BBC, Johnson pointed out that the intelligence reports available to his country point not to a progressive invasion from the eastern region of Donbas -under Russian control-, but to the massive influx of Russian troops from the north of the country and from Belaruswith the aim of “encircling Kiev”.
“The plans we see are for something that could be the biggest war in Europe since 1945 in terms of its scale,” he said.
Johnson appealed to “understand the cost in human lives” that such a military action would entail, “not only for the Ukrainians, but for young Russians.” Furthermore, he added that all indications are that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s plan “has already begun in some way.”
The United Kingdom and the United States plan to prevent Russian companies from “trading in pounds and dollars”, a sanction that in their opinion “would hit Russia very hard”, he explained.
Johnson in the interview, held in Munich (Germany) on the sidelines of the security conference in which he participated this Saturday.
The British prime minister believes that there is evidence that the invasion of Ukraine may be imminent, and that fact cannot be hidden.
Johnson met yesterday in Munich with the Ukrainian president, Volodímir Zelenski, to whom “he underlined the unequivocal support of the United Kingdom for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine”, according to a spokesman for the head of government.
tension in the front
On the ground, however, the escalation of tension is constant. Pro-Russian separatists in Donbas, who accuse Kiev of wanting to attack them, announced a “general mobilization” of men capable of fighting and ordered an evacuation of civilians to neighboring regions of Russia.
In the night from Saturday to Sunday, Russian agencies reported artillery fire on the outskirts of Donetsk, near the front line. And the OSCE observers, in charge of ensuring the ceasefire in the area, warned of an increase in violations of that agreement.
The Kremlin denies harboring hostile intentions towards Kiev, but demands NATO guarantees for its security, such as the withdrawal of its military infrastructure from Eastern Europe and a commitment that Ukraine will never enter the transatlantic alliance.
(We recommend: How to protect the sovereignty of Ukraine).
On Ukraine’s eastern front, fighting is raging, with Kiev and separatist rebels accusing each other of poisoning the conflict that has caused more than 14,000 deaths since 2014. The Russian region of Rostov, on the border with Ukraine, declared the state of urgency to deal with a possible influx of refugees.
According to the latest rebel figures, more than 22,000 people were evacuated to Russia from the front areawhere hundreds of thousands of people live.
For almost three months, Washington has not stopped issuing warnings about the preparations for a Russian offensive in Ukraine. On Friday, Biden said he was “convinced” that Putin had made the decision to invade the country. From Munich, at a major security conference, Zelensky sent a calmer message, saying “there is no need to panic”, although he also called on the West to abandon Russia’s “appeasement” policy and increase its military aid to Kiev.
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*With information from AFP and EFE
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