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Ukrainian Ministers Continue To Downplay Risk Of Escalation In Stand-Off With Russia


Ukrainian ministers continued to downplay the potential for an escalation of the military threat posed by Russia, pushing back against several weekend press reports pointing to the contrary:

  • Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov said in a statement on the ministerial website that Ukrainian intelligence services continue to monitory the activity of Russian troops on the Ukrainian border, in Belarus as well as in ORDLO and Crimea. Reznikov noted that "unprecedented military assistance from our partners" has significantly boosted Ukraine's capacity to resist a potential strike. He said that the military is assessing various scenarios, but the likelihood of a significant escalation is still seen as low. Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba used his Twitter account to urge the public not to believe in "apocalyptic predictions." Ukraine's chief diplomat stressed that Kyiv is prepared for all scenarios.
  • Earlier, anonymous U.S. officials told RTRS that Russia has amassed around 70% of forces needed to launch a full-scale invasion of Ukraine and keeps sending more troops to the border. Separately, the WSJ cited U.S. intelligence assessments noting that Russia is close to completing preparations for a strike that would allow it to seize Kyiv in days and "the window for a diplomatic resolution of the crisis appears to be closing."
  • Frantic efforts to find a diplomatic way out of the crisis are set to resume, with a number of heads of state poised to catch their flights today. French President Macron speak to Russian President Putin in Moscow, en route to Kyiv, where he is expected to touch down tomorrow. In the meantime, foreign ministers from Germany, Czechia, Slovakia and Australia are visiting the Ukrainian capital today, while German Chancellor Scholz travels to the DC for a meeting with U.S. President Biden.

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