The tension remains very high, after the increase in bombing in eastern Ukraine. The Security Conference opens in Munich: the Russians absent, Kamala Harris for the US. Moscow announces: the withdrawal continues
The tension between Russia And Ukraine remains very high. In the past few hours – while the United States showed, with satellite images, that the withdrawal of Moscow troops has remained an announcement – an increase in bombing in eastern Ukraine has raised fears that Putin could use them as a pretext for an invasion of the country. Yesterday, a mortar shell hit an asylum in Donbass (Ukraine’s separatist area). Diplomacy continues to work: even the Italian Prime Minister, Mario Draghi, has announced that he will be in Moscow in the next few days to try to pave the way for a possible face-to-face between Putin and Ukrainian President Zelensky. But, at the UN Security Council, the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, yesterday accused Moscow of being ready to fabricate a false terrorist attack or to invent the discovery of mass graves or to stage an attack on civilians, making fun of all of us. And he added, reiterating what President Joe Biden also said, that the invasion of Ukraine is about to begin. The Russians will drop missiles and bombs all over the territory; cyber attacks will send key institutions into a tailspin; Russian tanks and soldiers will advance towards set targets. We believe that among these there is also the capital, Kiev, with its 2.8 million inhabitants. However, Blinken has proposed to his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov a new meeting next week.
08.40 am – Munich conference: Kamala time
The Security Conference opens every year in Munich, Germany. German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock: We will discuss how we can contrast the logic of dialogue with the logic of the threat of violence. It is a pity that Russia has not sent its representatives to take advantage of this opportunity. American Vice President Kamala Harris and Secretary of State Antony Blinken are attending the three days in Munich for the United States. Harris is having an interview today with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. Meetings with Chancellor Scholz and Ukrainian President Zelensky are on the agenda. Tomorrow a meeting of the G7 foreign ministers, of which Germany is the presidency this year.
08.30 – Moscow: the retreat continues
The Ministry of Defense announces the withdrawal of Russian tanks from the border with Ukraine. Ten Su-24 fighters according to the Navy spokesman also left Crimea (annexed by Moscow in 2014). An unknown number of tanks are in the Nijni Novgorod bases, more than a thousand kilometers from Ukraine.
8.00 – The Biden-Draghi night call
During the night, US President Joe Biden heard from Prime Minister Mario Draghi. The two – according to a White House note – reviewed ongoing diplomatic and deterrence efforts in response to Russia’s continued military strengthening on the Ukrainian border and reaffirmed their commitment to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and their readiness to impose severe economic costs on Russia should it further invade Ukraine.