As US puts 8,500 soldiers on high alert for Eastern Europe deployment, Paris and Berlin seek unified response to Moscow.
French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will meet in Berlin to seek a common response to Russia as fears rise that Moscow could soon attack Ukraine.
Tuesday’s talks in the German capital come a day after Washington put 8,500 troops on heightened alert for possible deployment to Eastern Europe, potentially at very short notice, and other NATO member states moved to boost their presence in the region.
Russia has massed some 100,000 troops within reach of Ukraine’s border, surrounding its neighbour with forces from the north, east and south.
The Kremlin denies planning an invasion and Moscow cites the Western response as evidence that Russia is the target, not the instigator, of aggression.
Here are all the latest updates:
Russian, Ukrainian officials to meet
Russian and Ukrainian officials are set to meet in Paris on Wednesday for talks with their French and German counterparts.
The meeting marks a revival of four-way talks between the nations known as the Normandy Format.
Madrid focused on deterrence in Eastern Europe: Minister
Spain’s defence minister says its warships and fighter jets deployed in Eastern Europe are not offensive but are focused on stability and deterrence.
“These are permanent missions of stability and deterrence and in no way offensive,” Margarita Robles said during an interview with radio station SER.
Spain has deployed fighter jets in Baltic countries to contribute to NATO’s air surveillance programme for a number of years. Robles said last week Spain also sent two warships to the Mediterranean and Black Seas and is considering sending more warplanes to Bulgaria.
NATO reinforces its eastern flank
NATO allies have put forces on standby and sent ships and fighter jets to bolster Europe’s eastern defences as tensions soar over Russia’s military buildup near Ukraine.
Read more here.
In a Ukrainian city, a civilian army prepares for war with Russia
In Kharkiv, northeast Ukraine, reserve forces are busily preparing for a possible conflict with Russia.
They are part of the so-called Territorial Defence Force – a volunteer unit within the country’s official Armed Forces – which is being readied for engagement.
Read more here.