The United States is relocating its Ukraine embassy operations from the capital Kyiv to the western city of Lviv, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Monday (14 February), citing a "dramatic acceleration in the buildup of Russian forces."
Russian mercenaries with ties to Moscow's spies have increased their presence in Ukraine in recent weeks, stoking fears among some NATO members that Russia could try to engineer a pretext for an invasion, three senior Western security sources said.
Russia held the door open Monday (14 February) to further talks on resolving its standoff with the West and said some of its military drills were ending, signalling a possible easing of the crisis over Ukraine.
US and European officials are finalizing an extensive package of sanctions if Russia invades Ukraine that targets major Russian banks, but does not include banning Russia from the SWIFT financial system, according to US and European officials.
As the tensions in Ukraine reach a critical phase, German chancellor Olaf Scholz will travel to Kyiv and Moscow on Monday and Tuesday (14 and 15 February) in a bid to prevent the outbreak of war and bring Russia back to the negotiation table.
Washington reaffirmed its warning that Russia could invade Ukraine at any moment and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz prepared to visit both countries in a bid to head off a crisis that Berlin said had reached a "critical" point.
US President Joe Biden told Russia's Vladimir Putin on Saturday (12 February) that the West would respond decisively to any invasion of Ukraine, adding such a step would produce widespread suffering and isolate Moscow.
Chancellor Olaf Scholz warned Russia of "serious" economic and political consequences should it ramp up military aggression toward Ukraine, while adding that Germany and its allies were ready for dialogue with Moscow and wanted peace.
Russian President Vladimir Putin spent much of his marathon talks with France's Emmanuel Macron this week on the Ukraine crisis reciting grievances that date back to the end of the Cold War, two sources in the French leader's entourage said.
The US envoy to the UN said she hopes China will urge Russia to "do the right thing" on Ukraine, prompting her Chinese counterpart to quickly respond with a call for diplomacy and an end to "hyping up the tension."
Russia's foreign minister accused his British counterpart on Thursday (10 February) of grandstanding and refusing to listen, at a rancorous encounter that highlighted the gulf between them over the Ukraine crisis.
Hopes rose that efforts to stop Russia from invading Ukraine may be starting to pay off, with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz joining Kyiv and Moscow in a chorus of voices assessing that diplomatic bids to defuse the crisis could work.
European diplomacy over Ukraine puts in another gear this week with the French and Russian leaders to meet in Moscow, Germany’s Chancellor paying a visit to Washington and other European diplomats flocking to Kyiv.
Much has been said about the devious divide-and-rule tactics of adversaries like Russia and China, but one should never underestimate the debilitating capacity of the EU to divide itself, writes Steven Blockmans.
Russia has formulated several options as an excuse to invade Ukraine, including the potential use of a propaganda video showing a staged attack, the United States said on Thursday, as the Kremlin condemned American troop deployments in the region.
NATO said on Thursday (3 February) Russia had stepped up deployments to Ukraine's northern neighbour Belarus in recent days and was expected to have 30,000 troops there for joint military exercises this month.
The European Union says it is ready to impose "massive" economic sanctions on Russia if it invades Ukraine, but officials and diplomats say the threat depends on complex negotiations involving 27 member states that are far from complete.
The United States will send nearly 3,000 extra troops to Poland and Romania to shield Eastern Europe from a potential spillover from the crisis over the massing of Russian troops near Ukraine, US officials said on Wednesday (2 February).