The crisis intensifies in the East. Follow live all the information on the tensions between Ukraine and Russia, while the various protagonists increase the deployment of troops and military maneuvers.
The main thing to remember
> Russia has massed some 100,000 troops in recent months near its border with Ukraine.
> Russia wants Ukraine to commit never to join NATO.
> According to the United States, an invasion of Ukraine by Russia could “intervene at any time”.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro confirmed on Saturday that he was maintaining his visit to Russia where he is expected on Tuesday, despite extreme tensions around Ukraine where the United States says it fears an imminent Russian invasion. Washington has exerted pressure, according to various analysts, for the Brazilian to cancel this visit, officially centered on the promotion of bilateral trade relations, while a war threatens in Europe.
But while phone calls intended to make diplomacy prevail multiplied on Saturday between Western leaders and Russia without lowering the tension, Jair Bolsonaro relied on God. “We ask God for peace in the world for the good of all of us,” Bolsonaro said after an interview on local radio, while confirming his visit to Russia, scheduled for Tuesday to Thursday.
Paris advises the French against traveling to Ukraine, its foreign ministry announced on Saturday, without recommending its nationals to leave Ukrainian soil, unlike several other European countries. “In the context of the tensions created by the concentration of Russian troops on the borders of Ukraine (…) it is strictly advised against traveling to the border areas in the north and east of the country” and “it is advised to postpone all trips to Ukraine”, writes the Quai d’Orsay on its site, under the heading “travel advice”.
Other European countries, including Germany, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands, have recommended that their nationals leave Ukraine in a context of high tensions, Washington having affirmed on Friday that a Russian invasion of Ukraine could intervene “at any time”.
The Kremlin has denounced an American hysteria at “the height” after a call between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his American counterpart Joe Biden over Ukraine. “The hysteria has reached its peak,” said Yuri Ushakov, diplomatic adviser to Mr. Putin, during a press conference, while specifying that “the presidents have agreed to continue contacts at all levels”.
The long-awaited call between US President Joe Biden and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Saturday to defuse tension over the Ukraine file did not lead to “fundamental change”, a US official said.
The exchange was “professional and rich and lasted just over an hour. There has been no fundamental change in the dynamics that we have observed for several weeks now,” the official told reporters on condition of anonymity.
US President Joe Biden warned his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin of the “severe and rapid repercussions” that Moscow would face if attacked by Ukraine, during a phone call lasting just over an hour on Saturday between the two leaders, the White House announced.
The United States and its allies “will respond resolutely and impose severe and swift repercussions on Russia” if the latter invades Ukraine, the US executive said.
US President Joe Biden and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin spoke on the phone for just over an hour on Saturday on Ukraine, the White House announced. “The secure call between President Biden and Russian President Putin ended at 12:06 p.m. (1706 GMT), an official said after the highly anticipated exchange.
The airline KLM announced on Saturday the suspension of flights to Ukraine until further notice following the “red code” announced earlier to Dutch travelers, meaning that it is too dangerous to travel to this country.
“The next flight to the capital Kyiv was scheduled for this evening, but will not be operated,” KLM said in a statement, adding that the decision followed “following code red-adjusted travel advice and a thorough safety analysis” .
Russian President Vladimir Putin called accusations against Russia of an imminent invasion of Ukraine “provocative speculation” during a meeting with his counterpart Emmanuel Macron on Saturday, according to a Kremlin statement.
“Vladimir Putin and Emmanuel Macron discussed the situation related to provocative speculations about an alleged ‘Russian invasion’ of Ukraine, which is accompanied by large-scale deliveries of modern armaments to this country”, according to this press release. the Russian presidency.
The Kremlin also considers that these accusations and these military means create “the preconditions for possible aggressive actions by Ukrainian forces in the Donbass”, a region in eastern Ukraine where Russia has been supporting armed separatists for eight years.
“The Ukrainians will resist”: Wrapped in blue and yellow national flags, several thousand people marched this Saturday in the center of Kiev to show their unity at a time when Washington multiplies the warnings of the imminence of an invasion Russian.
French President Emmanuel Macron warned his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Saturday that a “sincere dialogue was not compatible with a military escalation” on the Ukrainian border, the Elysée announced after a 1:40 meeting between the two heads of state.
Emmanuel Macron and Vladimir Putin “both expressed a desire to continue the dialogue” on “the ways to move forward on the implementation of the Minsk agreements” on the Donbass and on “the conditions for security and stability in Europe added the French presidency.
The French president also “passed on the concerns of his European partners and his allies”, she specified.
The United States has ordered the withdrawal of the 160 American soldiers responsible for training the Ukrainian forces to “reposition them elsewhere in Europe”, announced the spokesman for the Pentagon, John Kirby.
It was US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin who made this decision regarding these Florida National Guard soldiers “with the safety and security of the workforce in mind,” according to the statement.
President Emmanuel Macron spoke for 1 hour 40 minutes with Vladimir Putin to try to lower the tension in the Russian-Ukrainian crisis, according to the Elysée.
This interview, which began this Saturday at 12:30 p.m. (French time), preceded a call to be held later between US President Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin.
American warnings about an imminent Russian attack on Ukraine “cause panic and do not help” Ukrainians, President Volodymyr Zelensky denounced on Saturday, quoted by the Interfax-Ukraine agency. “Right now, our enemies’ best friend is panic in our country. And all this information (about an attack) only causes panic and does not help us,” he said during a trip to the provinces.
The Netherlands in turn advises its nationals to leave Ukraine and advises against travel to this country, the Foreign Ministry announced on Saturday.
“The security situation was already worrying, and has deteriorated further in recent days,” Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra said in a statement. “In consultation with the various allies, I am now taking this step and calling on all Dutch people to leave Ukraine,” he added in a statement.
The US embassy in Kiev ordered the withdrawal of its non-essential staff on Saturday, as Washington deemed it possible that a Russian offensive against Ukraine was imminent.
“Today, the State Department ordered the departure of non-essential U.S. employees from the Embassy’s emergency room due to continuing reports of a Russian military buildup on the border with Russia. ‘Ukraine, indicator of potential significant military action,’ the embassy in Kiev said on Twitter.
German nationals whose presence is not “imperative” must “in the short term” leave Ukraine, where a “military conflict cannot be ruled out”, the Foreign Ministry recommended on Saturday.
“Tensions between Russia and Ukraine have further increased in recent days due to the presence and massive movements of Russian military units near the Ukrainian borders,” notes the German ministry on its website, warning in its “ recommendations” to travelers that “a military conflict cannot be ruled out”.
Russia has started to reduce its diplomatic presence in Ukraine, saying on Saturday it feared “provocations” from the Ukrainian authorities or from “third countries”. “Fearing possible provocations from the Kiev regime or third countries, we have indeed decided to optimize the staff of the Russian representations in Ukraine,” said the spokesperson for Russian diplomacy in a press release, in response to a media question about its reduced presence in its pro-Western neighbour.
Vladimir Poutine must speak Saturday on the telephone with his American and French counterparts, Washington estimating that Russia, in spite of its multiple denials, could invade Ukraine “at any time”. And while many Western countries were asking their nationals to leave Ukraine, Russia added to the concern by announcing to reduce its diplomatic staff there, arguing possible Western “provocations” or from Kiev.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced that he would meet with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on Saturday in a last-ditch attempt to prevent a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine. “We continue to see very troubling signs of Russian escalation, including the arrival of new forces on Ukraine’s borders,” Blinken said at a Saturday news conference in Fiji.
Belgium advises its nationals to leave Ukraine and advises against travel to this country, the Foreign Ministry announced on Saturday. “It is strongly advised to nationals who are currently in Ukraine and whose presence is not absolutely necessary to leave the country”, specifies the ministry on its site.
Russia launched new major naval maneuvers in the Black Sea on Saturday while denouncing American “hysteria”, Washington having declared to fear an imminent Russian invasion of Ukraine. “More than 30 ships of the Black Sea Fleet set sail from Sevastopol and Novorossiysk according to the exercise plan,” the Defense Ministry said on Saturday morning.
The United States said on Friday that Russia could invade Ukraine “at any time” in the coming days, reviving more than ever the specter of a war in Europe in a dramatic acceleration of events after a phase of intense negotiations diplomatic.
US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin “will speak to each other on Saturday morning” on the east coast of the United States, a senior White House official told AFP.