President Biden is set to meet with the National Security Council on Sunday to discuss the threat of a renewed war in Ukraine, as officials warn that Moscow is stepping up its disinformation campaign in a bid to create a false pretext for a military attack that the president has warned could come “in the coming days.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky forcefully demanded stronger actions from world leaders on Saturday as the threat of full-scale invasion intensified amid increased shelling in the eastern separatist regions of his country. Zelensky also called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to meet him and seek a diplomatic resolution to the crisis.
U.S. officials have repeatedly warned that Russia could stage an attack from Kyiv’s forces on the separatist-held territories to justify Moscow’s invasion. State Department spokesman Ned Price expressed skepticism Saturday about Russian reports of a car bomb in a separatist-controlled region in eastern Ukraine.
The sharp upswing in firing from the separatists’ side over the past three days has shaken even the war-weary residents of eastern Ukraine, who have grappled with violence since Russia began supporting separatists in the disputed region in 2014, the same year it annexed Crimea from its neighbor. Russia on Saturday said at least two shells fired from a government-held part of the area purportedly landed across the border — claims Ukraine vehemently rebutted.
Here’s what to know
- Western diplomats made a last-ditch push for a peaceful resolution to tensions between Russia and Ukraine at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday, emphasizing that diplomacy remained an option up until the possible moment when Moscow launches an attack.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Saturday that possible Western sanctions against Russia should be made public now to deter Moscow from invading Ukraine.
- President Vladimir Putin oversaw a major military exercise Saturday of Russia’s nuclear forces, involving the launch of hypersonic missiles. The exercises are taking place as the United States asserts that Russia probably has massed as many as 190,000 troops in and around Ukraine, or nearly double the 100,000 estimated in late January.
UNDERSTANDING THE RUSSIA-UKRAINE CRISIS