RRussian President Vladimir Putin said he hoped the situation on the Ukrainian border “can be resolved peacefully”, after five hours of talks with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron.
Mr Putin denied that Russia was acting aggressively towards Ukraine or the West, saying: “We are not the ones heading towards NATO borders.
However, in a thinly veiled threat, he added that if Ukraine joined NATO, European countries would be drawn into a military conflict with Russia. Do you want France to go to war against Russia?” Mr Putin asked.
In Washington, US President Joe Biden has warned that if Russia invades Ukraine there will be no Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, in his most blunt language on the subject yet.
Europe’s most controversial energy project, Nord Stream 2 is designed by Russian energy giant Gazprom to double the amount of gas flowing from Russia directly to Germany, bypassing Ukraine, the transit nation traditional.
“If Russia invades – that again means tanks or troops crossing the Ukrainian border – then there will be no more Nord Stream 2,” Biden said at a joint press conference with the chancellor. German Olaf Scholz.
“I promise you we’ll end it.”
Mr Biden also sent a warning to the 30,000 Americans in Ukraine, saying: “It would be wise to leave the country. I would hate to see them caught in the crossfire.” He clarified that the diplomatic mission would remain.
Elsewhere, the UK will send 350 more troops to Poland’s border with Ukraine as tensions rise and the threat of Russian invasion grows.
Germany also announced that it would deploy an additional 350 troops to Lithuania, while the United States would send around 1,700 troops to Poland and 1,000 to Romania.
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