Kiev, Jan 26:As the Ukraine crisis deepens, the US has put its 8500 troops on ‘heightened alert’. The UK has sent many weapons to Ukraine to defend itself from possible Russian invasion. Many western countries have asked their diplomats and their families to evacuate from Kiev. The Ukraine on the other hand has asked these countries to calm, while saying Russian invasion is not imminent.
Ukraine’s leaders sought to reassure the nation that a feared invasion from neighboring Russia was not imminent, even as they acknowledged the threat is real and prepared to accept a shipment of American military equipment Tuesday to shore up their defenses.
Russia has denied it is planning an assault, but it has massed an estimated 100,000 troops near Ukraine in recent weeks, leading the United States and its NATO allies to rush to prepare for a possible war.
Several rounds of high stakes diplomacy have failed to yield any breakthroughs, and this week tensions escalated further. NATO said it was bolstering its deterrence in the Baltic Sea region, and the US ordered 8,500 troops on higher alert to potentially deploy to Europe as part of an alliance “response force” if necessary.
The State Department has ordered the families of all American personnel at the US Embassy in Kyiv to leave the country, and it said that nonessential embassy staff could leave. Britain said it, too, was withdrawing some diplomats and dependents from its embassy.
In Ukraine, however, authorities have sought to project calm. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said late Monday that the situation was “under control” and that there is “no reason to panic”.
Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov said that, as of Monday, that Russia’s armed forces had not formed what he called battle groups, “which would have indicated that tomorrow they would launch an offensive.”
“There are risky scenarios. They’re possible and probable in the future,” Reznikov told Ukraine’s ICTV channel on Monday. “But as of today…such a threat doesn’t exist.”
Oleksiy Danilov, the secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council, echoed that sentiment, saying that the movement of Russian troops near Ukraine’s border “is not news.”
“As of today, we don’t see any grounds for statements about a full-scale offensive on our country,” Danilov said Monday.
Russia has said Western accusations that it is planning an invasion are merely a cover for NATO’s own planned provocations. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Tuesday once again accused the US of “fomenting tensions” around the Ukraine, a former Soviet state that Russia has been locked in a bitter tug-of-war with for almost eight years.