Putin will oversee drills and Zelensky will meet with allies, raising fears of war


Russia’s chief will be in charge of major military drills at Ukraine’s border on Saturday. This is further increasing tensions after Washington stated that Moscow would invade Ukraine within days. On Friday, Ukraine’s president traveled to Europe to garner support.

The Russian-backed separatists ordered civilians to evacuate the area Friday, and artillery shelling in Ukraine’s east resulted in a febrile situation. Washington claimed that Moscow was encircling its prowestern neighbour.

According to the Kremlin, there are no plans to attack.

US President Joe Biden claimed that the invasion would happen in the next week/days and that his Russian counterpart President Vladimir Putin had made the “decision” to invade. Biden, however, left the door open to a diplomatic resolution.

Biden spoke at the White House Friday:

Russia must choose between war with all its suffering and diplomacy that will provide a better future for everyone.

Volodymyr Zelensky, President of Ukraine, was expected to travel to Germany on Saturday to meet Western leaders. There were also talks between him & Kamala Harris, US Vice President.

Biden asked whether it was “wise” for Ukraine’s leader, who fled his country when war fears rose to fever pitch.

The United States says that with an estimated 149 000 Russian troops on Ukraine’s borders – as many as 190 000, when including the Russian-backed separatist forces – an attack is inevitable.

The Russians have not provided any figures for the Russian military deployment at the Ukraine border or how many of their troops are participating in ongoing drills with Belarusian neighbors.

Russia’s defence ministry revealed that Putin will personally supervise any drills with missile launches on Saturday to add to the fear.

“Change the dynamics”

Bided said that Bided is focused on convincing the world that he can change the dynamics of Europe in a way he cannot.

Washington warned that there were growing concerns that a spark, which Washington believes could have been a “false flag” incident orchestrated in Moscow, could cause the largest military confrontation in Europe after World War II.

At the Munich Security Conference Jens Stoltenberg (NATO chief) warned that the Russian army was much larger than needed for military drills and that Russia could invade at will.

France and Germany have asked Russia to use its influence over rebels in Ukraine’s eastern disputed region to “encourage restraint, and contribute to deescalation.”

On the ground, however, there was a spike of clashes that has fueled a growing fear.

READ MORE| Biden declares he is ‘convinced of Russia’s invasion into Kyiv over the next days

An AFP reporter was near the front line between Ukrainian government forces in Kiev and pro-Russian separatists from the Lugansk area. He heard explosions and saw civilian buildings damaged on Kyiv’s side.

Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe monitors said Saturday that they saw a significant increase in attacks along front line, in particular in separatist areas like Donetsk and Lugansk.

Local media were told by officials that more than 6 000 people had fled Donetsk to Russia and 25 000 had left Lugansk. Donetsk had long car lines at checkpoints.

Moscow-backed leaders accuse Kyiv, in an attempt to reverse the aggressor narrative. It was believed that the evacuation of civilians in those areas was due to fears about a government attack.

Russian news agencies reported that officials from Lugansk said there were two explosions in one hour on a pipeline, but the fires had been under control.

According to Biden however, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will meet with his Russian counterpart Thursday to discuss the matter. He accused the Kremlin, of launching a propaganda campaign in order to justify war.

Biden ruled out the sending of US troops into Ukraine. But his administration reiterated its intention to hit Moscow with severe sanctions that would turn Russia into a “pariah” to the international community.