NATO expects Russia to carry out a massive attack on Ukraine. “Everything indicates that Russia is preparing a full attack on Ukraine,” said NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg to German public channel ARD. According to him, the risk of an attack is “very, very high”.
According to Stoltenberg, who is attending an international security conference in Munich, nothing indicates that Russia is phasing out its force around Ukraine, as the Russians themselves say. “No troops will be withdrawn, but new ones will be added.” According to him, there are also signs that Russia is looking for a pretext to invade Ukraine.
US President Biden said Friday night he was convinced that President Putin has decided to make an offensive against Ukraine. According to him, the goal is to reach the capital Kiev. He did stress that it is not too late for Moscow to de-escalate with diplomatic consultations.
The NATO chief also hopes that a diplomatic solution is still possible. “We want Russia to change course and sit down with us.” NATO has, as a precautionary measure, moved staff from the capital Kiev to Lvivs west and to Brussels. It is unclear how many people it is about.
Hope for diplomacy
Earlier today, German Chancellor Scholz said at the security conference that war is “threatening again” in Europe, although he pointed out that diplomatic solutions are still possible. According to British Prime Minister Johnson, the Russians are building “a spider web of disinformation”.
In an interview with the BBC, Johnson also says that Russia is preparing “the biggest war in Europe since 1945”. He thinks that Russia is planning to launch an invasion to surround the capital Kiev. According to Western intelligence agencies, the Russians have gathered a force of about 150,000 soldiers around Ukraine.
The next day, French President Macron and President Putin will be in touch by phone about the situation. The US and Russian Defence ministers also speak with each other. And next week, a meeting between Russian foreign minister Lavrov and his American counterpart Blink will be on the program.
Situation at the front
At the front in eastern Ukraine, the situation is escalating, OSCE observers say. According to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, more than 1400 explosions were reported in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions on Friday. In these regions, the Ukrainian army and Russian-backed separatists are diametrically opposed.
Shelling by pro-Russian separatists killed two Ukrainian soldiers yesterday, the government army reported.