Ukraine crisis: Scholz heads to Russia to meet Putin as US tells citiz…




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12.29am EST 00:29

‘Crucial window for diplomacy’ remains – Johnson and Biden

Following a 40-minute call between Boris Johnson and Joe Biden on Monday night, the two leaders say they believe there remains a “crucial window for diplomacy and for Russia to step back from its threats towards Ukraine”.

Britain said the pair emphasised the importance of unity and, while neither the UK nor the US will send troops to defend Ukraine, they insisted that any further Russian incursion “would consequence in a protracted crisis for Russia with meaningful damage for both Russia and the world”.

12.16am EST 00:16

Scholz to travel to Moscow in a bid to avid war

German chancellor Olaf Scholz will travel to Moscow today to meet Vladimir Putin in a bid to avid war.

Scholz, who was in Kyiv on Monday, warned that any Russian attack on Ukraine would be met with heavy economic consequences, adding that the “territorial integrity of Ukraine is not negotiable”.

Olaf Scholz, left, with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv on Monday. Photograph: Sergey Dolzhenko/EPA

The chancellor has said he will hammer home the message from the west that they are open to dialogue about Russia’s security concerns but will impose sanctions if it invades Ukraine.

“We are ready for very meaningful and effective sanctions in coordination with our allies,” he said on Monday.

Germany is Russia’s number one trade partner in Europe and the biggest consumer of Russian natural gas.

Scholz is under pressure to make his presence felt on the international stage after succeeding Angela Merkel last year.

Updated at 12.37am EST

12.09am EST 00:09

Canada’s announcement on Monday that it will supply lethal weapons to Ukraine has been labelled “unacceptable” by Russian ambassador to Ottawa, Oleg Stepanov.

“Any supply of arms to a country with an unresolved internal armed conflict is unacceptable. This does not bring peace closer and only prolongs and aggravates the fratricidal conflict in Ukraine,” Stepanov told Russian state news agency TASS.

“By providing weapons, western countries are pushing the Kiev regime to continue the war against its own people,” he additional.

Russia in Canada (@RussianEmbassyC)

Посол О.В.Степанов: Решение властей Канады о поставках летального вооружения на Украину неприемлемо и лишь усугубит текущий конфликт.

Предоставляя оружие, западные страны подталкивают киевский режим к продолжению войны против собственного народа.

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February 15, 2022

11.54pm EST 23:54

Bolsonaro justifies visit to Russia

Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro is facing backlash after deciding to go ahead with an official visit to Russia to meet with Putin on Wednesday in what has been described as awkward timing, amid the tense standoff between Moscow and the west over Ukraine.

Bolsonaro will go ahead with the visit despite pressure from Brazil’s traditional ally the United States and within his own cabinet.

He says the visit is to build trade relations. Agence France-Presse quotes an interview with Bolsonaro on Radio Tupi on Saturday:

President Putin has invited me. Brazil depends in large parts on fertilisers from Russia, Belarus. We pray to God that peace may reign in the world.

We will also take with us a group of ministers who will deal with issues such as energy, defence and agriculture.”

Russia president Vladimir Putin and Brazilian president in 2019. Photograph: Andre Coelho/EPA

Updated at 12.03am EST

11.36pm EST 23:36

Stock markets under pressure again

Shares in Asia came under renewed selling pressure on Tuesday amid continued concerns about the possible for conflict in Ukraine.

The Nikkei slipped is down 0.73% in the afternoon session, while the Kospi index in Seoul is off 0.66% and the ASX is off 0.3% in Sydney. Hong Kong is also down around 0.7% but shares on the mainland are doing better, up 0.4%.

A trader in front of a screen displaying the Dax stock market index in Frankfurt, Germany, on Monday. Photograph: Arne Dedert/AP

already so, the losses are mild compared to the bloodbath in London and Europe on Monday where somes indices such as the Dax in Germany discarded 2%.

Kyle Rodda at online trader IG in Melbourne said the outlook for the German economy was very uncertain with the possibility of war to the east.

War in Europe would a blow to the economy and a driver of already greater inflation, in what would be a one-two punch for the Dax that would almost certainly see it break down.

11.35pm EST 23:35

How the crisis looks from Kyiv

As US intelligence supplies warn of an imminent Russian invasion, residents of the Ukrainian capital are refusing to be cowed.

The Guardian’s Shaun Walker is in Kyiv and tells Michael Safi that, on the confront of it, much of the city is continuing life as normal. Restaurants are open, shops are complete and the snow-lined streets buzz with people going about their normal business. This is in stark contrast to many foreign diplomats who are scrambling to leave the Ukrainian capital before any military action that could begin within days or already hours.

But how likely is the complete-extent military assault being warned of by western intelligence agencies? And is there a diplomatic solution that could be sold to Vladimir Putin that would also satisfy the Ukrainian government?

Listen to our latest podcast episode: How the Ukraine crisis looks from Kyiv.

Updated at 11.49pm EST

11.12pm EST 23:12

Welcome

Hello, welcome to our live coverage of the Ukraine crisis, I’m Samantha Lock.

This morning the German chancellor Olaf Scholz will fly to Moscow for a meeting with president Vladimir Putin, after spending Monday in Kyiv in the latest round of diplomacy aimed at averting a war in Europe.

His visit comes as the US state department urged its citizens in Belarus to leave, citing an “increase in uncommon and concerning Russian military activity near the border with Ukraine”.

Here are some of the other recent developments:

  • Brazillian president Jair Bolsonaro announced he would fly to Russia on Tuesday to meet Putin.
  • During a carefully choreographed meeting on Monday with Putin, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said “there is always a chance” of reaching an agreement with the West over Ukraine.
  • Canada has said it will send lethal military weaponry to Ukraine with a potential to loan Kyiv $500m to help defend itself in the confront of Russian aggression.
  • British PM Boris Johnson and US president Joe Biden agreed there “remained a crucial window for diplomacy and for Russia to step back from its threats towards Ukraine”.
  • Global stock markets steadied a little on Tuesday after taking a battering on Monday because of concern about a possible conflict in Ukraine.
  • Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Monday called on the country’s people to fly flags and sing the national anthem in unison on 16 February, a date that some Western media predict Russian could move into.
  • UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres spoke with the foreign ministers of Russia and Ukraine on Monday to express his serious concern over the heightened tensions and insisted “there is no different to diplomacy”.
  • Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu told Putin that some of the drills were “ending” and more would end “in the near future”, signalling a possible easing of the crisis.

Updated at 11.23pm EST

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