Live Updates: Russia and U.S. to Face Off at U.N. as Ukraine Standoff Continues

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Credit…Brendan Hoffman for The New York Times

More than a month of bluster and posturing, threatening military maneuvers and high-level diplomatic meetings has not made it any easier to assess the security crisis afflicting Europe.

Just a week after senior diplomats from the United States and Russia sat down in Geneva on January 21 to seek a way to defuse tensions around Ukraine, the Pentagon has warned that Russia has mustered a combat force large enough to attack its neighbour, a nation of 44 million, on the scale and at the time of its choosing. This could include a full-scale invasion, which would likely result in fierce fighting and potentially the worst bloodshed on the continent since the end of World War II.

“You can imagine what it might look like in dense urban areas, along highways, etc.,” Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley said Friday. “That would be awful. It would be awful.

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III described a collection of Russian infantry, artillery and rocket troops gathered on the Ukrainian border, which he said “far exceeds what we would see them usually do for exercises”.

The troops are not only on the Russian-Ukrainian border, but also in Belarus.






Other military or air installations

Russia started to move

troops, armor and advances

anti-aircraft systems in

Belarus, a close ally.

About 130,000 Russian soldiers

were deployed near the

Ukrainian border.

Forces deployed north of

Ukraine could stretch

the country’s forces are dwindling and

threaten its capital, Kiev.

approximate line

separating Ukrainian and

Russian-backed forces.

Nearly 20,000 troops are nearby

two separatist provinces, where

Ukraine is locked in a

fierce war against the Russians

separatists since 2014.

Other military or air installations

About 130,000 Russian soldiers

were deployed near the

Ukrainian border.

Russia started to move

troops, armor and advances

anti-aircraft systems in

Belarus, a close ally.

approximate line

separating Ukrainian and

Russian-backed forces.

Nearly 20,000 troops are nearly two

breakaway provinces, where Ukraine

was locked in a grinding

war with the Russians

separatists since 2014.

About 130,000 Russian soldiers

were deployed near the

Ukrainian border.

Russia started to move

troops, armor and advances

anti-aircraft systems in

Belarus, a close ally.

approximate line

separating Ukrainian and

Russian-backed forces.

Nearly 20,000 troops are nearly two

breakaway provinces, where Ukraine

was locked in a grinding

war with the Russians

separatists since 2014.

About 130,000 Russian soldiers

were deployed near the

Ukrainian border.

Russia started to move

troops, armor and advances

anti-aircraft systems in

Belarus, a close ally.

Nearly 20,000 troops are nearby

two separatist provinces, where

Ukraine is locked in a

fierce war against the Russians

separatists since 2014.


Note: Figures for newly arrived troops in Belarus, parts of Crimea and western Russia are rough estimates.

Britain said on Saturday that it would make a new military commitment to NATO to strengthen allies threatened by Russia. The British government, which has more than 900 troops deployed in Estonia, said it was considering doubling its numbers, as well as supplying Estonia with defensive weapons.

“This package would send a clear message to the Kremlin,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in remarks published by 10 Downing Street.

Still, Mr Austin said: ‘There is still time and space for diplomacy.’

No one knows what Mr. Putin’s intentions are, and trying to guess them is at the heart of the uncertainty surrounding the crisis.

Mr Putin has not spoken publicly about Ukraine since December 23. Meanwhile, the Biden administration decided to rally Western nations to demonstrate that the cost of military aggression would be severe and quickly felt.

Ukraine is not a member of NATO and member countries are not required to come to its defense, but the United States has placed 8,500 troops on high alert to be sent to Eastern Europe to support allies worried that Russian aggression will not stop in Ukraine.

The Biden administration has said it will not send troops to fight in Ukraine, but the Pentagon said Friday it would do what is necessary to keep thousands of Americans in the country safe.

US officials also announced last week that they plan to impose sanctions on some of Russia’s biggest financial institutions – sanctions that could disrupt the Russian economy in ways that would go well beyond previous Western actions. .

The United States and Germany are also stepping up warnings that natural gas would not flow through a new $11 billion pipeline between Russia and Germany if Russia were to invade Ukraine.

Yet there are fears that Mr Putin is willing to pay a heavy price to bring Ukraine back into what he sees as Russia’s natural sphere of influence.

In July, he wrote a 5,000-word essay expanding on his frequently expressed belief that Russians and Ukrainians were “one people.”

And at the center of the current maelstrom, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Friday sought to offer the prospect of a nation where conflict is not theoretical, but a daily reality.

Around 14,000 people have been killed in Ukraine’s breakaway eastern provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk, where Ukraine’s military has been at war with Russian-backed separatists since 2014.

To say that war is imminent is both false and dangerous, Mr. Zelensky said. This could lead to economic and social instability which could itself cause the state to struggle for its survival.

“We don’t need to panic,” he said.