May 20, 2022

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Tensions in Ukraine | Zhelensky called on the West to support the Ukrainian “shield”

(Kiev) Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zhelensky on Saturday presented his country as a “shield of Europe” against the threat of Russian invasion, as Moscow demonstrated a new force with test strikes of hypersonic missiles, the Russian-Western crisis.

Updated at 5:25 pm yesterday.

Ania Sukanova, with Romain Kolas in Moscow
French Media Company

“For eight years, Ukraine has been a shield. For eight years, Ukraine has retained one of the largest forces in the world, concentrated on our borders, but not the EU military,” the Ukrainian leader said.

He called on his Western allies to end all “peace” policies with Moscow, accusing Washington and Kiev of amassing 150,000 troops on Ukraine’s eastern border.

As tensions have been rising for two months, NATO leader Jens Stoltenberg told the German channel ARD, “All indications are that Russia is planning a full-scale offensive against Ukraine.”

“We all agree that the risk of attack is very high,” he said. Stoltenberg said in the evening that NATO would transfer its personnel from Ukraine from Kiev in the west to Liv and Brussels. .

French President Emmanuel Macron, however, has said that Russia will “not respond to provocations” as armed incidents between Kiev and pro-Russian separatists escalate in eastern Ukraine. Zhelensky believed the promise.

Photo by Alexei Nikolsky, Agencies France-Press

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and his Russian President Vladimir Putin

The separatists, who accuse Kiev of plotting to attack them, announced a “general mobilization” of combatants on Saturday after ordering the evacuation of civilians to neighboring Russia.

In addition, President Vladimir Putin personally oversaw ‘strategic’ exercises on Saturday capable of carrying ‘hypersonic’ missiles, new weapons previously called ‘invincible’ by the Kremlin leader and nuclear charges.

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Vladimir Putin appeared during a meeting with his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko via video conference with his generals coordinating the shooting. According to the Kremlin, these were carried out successfully and included Tu-95 bombings and submarines.

“Clear” calendar

On Friday evening, US President Joe Biden said he was “determined” that Vladimir Putin had decided to invade Ukraine, and that the escalation of the conflict was “weekly” and aimed at creating “false justification” for launching attacks even in days. To come.

“We are convinced that President Putin has made his decision,” US diplomat Anthony Blinken told the German daily Saturday. Suddeutsche Zeitung.

Photo pool, Reuters

US Secretary of State Anthony Blingen

Reports of “propaganda and media hysteria” in support of Russia Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez said on Twitter: “We strongly oppose NATO expansion to the borders of this fraternal country.”

Washington says it will open the door to talks and Mr. The meeting between Blingen and his Russian envoy, Sergei Lavrov, is scheduled for February 24.

The Kremlin continues to deny any intention of attacking its pro-Western neighbor, Ukraine, which it wants to bring back to its sphere of influence.

The extension of Moscow’s conditions on “guarantees” of its security, such as the withdrawal of NATO’s military infrastructure from Eastern Europe and the guarantee that Ukraine will never join the Atlantic Alliance, is unacceptable to the West.

From Munich, Volodymyr Zhelensky reaffirmed his desire to join NATO in Kiev, calling for a “clear and achievable” membership schedule.

He resumed his plan to meet with Vladimir Putin, which had already been done in 2021, but it was just a letter.

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has called for “unity” among Western allies, while US Vice President Kamala Harris has vowed to strengthen NATO in the event of a Russian offensive in Eastern Europe and “severe and effective” sanctions.

In a sign of growing concern, Berlin and Paris called on their compatriots to leave Ukraine on Saturday. German airline Lufthansa and its Austrian subsidiary Austrian Airlines have announced that they will suspend flights to the Ukrainian cities of Kiev and Odessa from Monday to the end of the month.

“Getting hot”

On the front, in eastern Ukraine, the fighting has doubled. Kiev and Moscow-backed separatists blame each other for the conflict, which has claimed more than 14,000 lives since 2014.

Kiev announced that two of its soldiers had been killed during the clashes. AFP reports that mortar shells fell from near Ukrainian Interior Minister Denis Monastirsky and went to the front without any casualties.

Photography company France-Press

Ukrainian soldiers train in a tank.

Observers for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) on Saturday saw a “dramatic increase” in ceasefire violations, with a total of 1,566 violations in 24 hours, a record this year.

“It’s getting hotter,” 26-year-old Ukrainian soldier Andriï told AFP, near the front.

Moscow on Saturday, Ukrainian firing fell on the Russian border, near the Ukrainian border, causing no casualties. Information denied by Kiev.

A state of emergency has been declared in Russia’s Rostov region along the border with Ukraine to deal with the influx of refugees from separatist areas.

Russian Emergency Situations Minister Alexander Suprian arrived in the area to oversee the evacuation. According to Russian agencies, the latter have begun to receive financial assistance of 10,000 rubles, he said.

Photo by Alexei Alexandrov, Associated Press

Ukrainian citizens were deported to Russia in the pro-Russian territory of Debaltsev.

According to the latest figures from separatists, more than 22,000 people have been deported to Russia, the lowest number in areas inhabited by millions.

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“We decided to go to the grandmother (in Russia) who is quiet, we took our dose in 2014, we do not want to wait until the last moment,” Elena Sokela, a resident of the separatist “Republic” told AFP. Donetsk arrived on the Russian side with his son on Saturday morning.