‘Unity day’ in Ukraine, US says Russia may yet invade: Live news | Ukraine-Russia crisis News


Despite Russia pulling back some of its troops stationed by the border with Ukraine and welcoming talks with the West, the United States and its allies have said they need evidence of the troop movements, and that the threat of a Russian invasion still looms.

President Joe Biden said Washington had not verified the Russian troops’ move. “Our analysts indicate that they remain very much in a threatening position,” he said, adding, however, there was still room for diplomacy to solve the crisis.

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has declared Wednesday – the day some US reports suggested an invasion could begin – “a day of unity”, calling people to “hang our national flags, put on blue and yellow ribbons and show our unity to the whole world”.

Hello, my name is Linah Alsaafin and here are the February 16 updates for the Ukraine-Russia crisis.

Russia announces end of Crimea military drills, troops leaving

Russia said military drills in Moscow-annexed Crimea had ended and that soldiers were returning to their garrisons, a day after it announced a first troop pullback from Ukraine’s borders.

“Units of the Southern Military District, having completed their participation in tactical exercises, are moving to their permanent deployment points,” Moscow’s defence ministry said in a statement, as state television showed images of military units crossing a bridge linking the Russian-controlled peninsula to the mainland.

Ukraine defence minister sees stable security situation

Oleksii Reznikov has said the latest threat assessments did not contain “anything unexpected” and were consistent with earlier views.

In a televised statement, Ukraine’s defence minister said his country’s armed forces were keeping up a nationwide military drill, one of which would be attended by the military attache of Belarus.

Russia makes moves to ease Ukraine tensions but West remains sceptical

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said Moscow does not want war and would rely on diplomatic efforts to eliminate any chance that Ukraine could one day join NATO – his key demand in the crisis. At the same time, he did not commit to a full military pullback, saying Russia’s next moves in the standoff will depend on how the situation evolves.

Biden, for his part, promised that Washington would give diplomacy “every chance”, but he struck a sceptical tone about Moscow’s intentions.

“Two paths are still open,” Biden said in remarks at the White House. “But let there be no doubt: if Russia commits this breach by invading Ukraine, responsible nations around the world will not hesitate to respond. If we do not stand for freedom where it is at risk today, we’ll surely pay a steeper price tomorrow.”

Wheat and corn prices ride the Ukrainian rollercoaster

The crisis between Ukraine and Russia, two of the world’s biggest wheat and corn producers, has sent the commodities’ prices on a wild ride.

“The market doesn’t know nuance: Either it’s war and it goes up, or it’s peace and it goes down,” said Gautier Le Molgat, an analyst at Agritel.

The grains’ markets turned around three times in less than 24 hours this week: first on the Russian foreign minister’s optimistic tone on Monday, then on news of the US relocating its Ukrainian embassy, and finally on Moscow’s claims of a military pullback.

The stakes are especially high for wheat, with Russia being the world’s top exporter and Ukraine the fourth, according to estimates by the US Department of Agriculture. Together, the two countries account for almost a third of wheat’s world trade.

China may take advantage of Ukraine crisis, US general warns

US General Kenneth Wilsbach, the head of US Pacific Air Forces, has said that China – which had aligned itself with Russia – might do something “provocative” in Asia while the Western world is preoccupied with the Ukraine crisis.

“From the standpoint of will China see what’s happening in Europe and … try to do something here in the Indo-Pacific — absolutely yes, that’s a concern,” Wilsbach said, using an alternative term for the Asia-Pacific region.


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