Russian state media begins propaganda push amid fears Ukraine invasion is imminent

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Russian state TV at the moment started a contemporary propaganda push, claiming Ukrainian nationalists are about to bloodbath Russians within the nation’s east in what observers worry often is the last step in justifying an invasion.  

Dmitry Kiselyov, a outstanding state propagandist typically often known as ‘Putin’s mouthpiece’, used his Sunday information present to hawk unsubstantiated claims that Ukraine has ‘tortured and savagely killed’ hundreds of civilians within the Donbass area. 

In a section entitled ‘they’re making ready to kill’, he additionally featured an interview with a separatist fighter within the area warning that Ukrainian nationalists have threatened to ‘kill and butcher you all, and grasp your kids on wires’.

The tactic mirrors Russian propaganda unfold forward of the final invasion of Ukraine, in 2014, which was utilized by the Kremlin to justify army motion on the idea of ‘defending’ ethnic Russians residing within the nation.

There at the moment are considered 148,000 Russian troops massed on the borders – backed by hundreds of tanks and artillery items – with Washington warning an invasion could come as quickly as Wednesday. 

Diplomatic efforts to move off a warfare are persevering with, with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz flying to Kiev at the moment and Moscow tomorrow in an try to reassure the previous and deter the latter. He is anticipated to supply extra monetary help to Ukraine and to demand Russia ‘instantly deescalate’ its troop build-up on the border. 

Talks have so-far met with little success as Moscow calls for Ukraine is banned from becoming a member of NATO, and the alliance refuses. Ukraine’s ambassador to the UK appeared to recommend that Kiev’s stance may very well be softened, which Russia pounced on as a optimistic step, earlier than he was pressured to stroll again his remarks. 

Amid one of the vital severe standoffs between East and West because the Cold War, a Russian army chief warned the navy stands prepared to fireplace on any international vessels getting into the nation’s territorial waters. 

Elsewhere at the moment…

  • Ukraine’s ambassador to the UK steered Kiev may very well be ‘versatile’ in its calls for to affix NATO if it avoids a warfare, however was rapidly pressured to stroll again his comment
  • Boris Johnson was making ready for a whistle-stop diplomatic tour of Europe in a last-minute effort to keep away from a battle and reassure NATO allies
  • German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who has come below fireplace for his soft-touch stance to Russia, will journey to Kiev at the moment after which go to Moscow for talks aimed toward avoiding warfare 
  • The Kremlin stated it won’t be attending a European safety summit referred to as by Ukraine at the moment to debate the troop build-up on its border and ‘uncommon army exercise’ in Belarus 
  • James Heappey, UK secretary for the Armed Forces, warned Europe is nearer to warfare than it has been ‘for 70 years’ and that bombs would drop on Ukraine ‘inside minutes’ of any order to assault
  • G7 finance ministers stated that army aggression by Russia in opposition to Ukraine would set off ‘financial and monetary sanctions which may have large and instant penalties on the Russian financial system’ 

A Russian tank fires its most important cannon throughout army drills going down within the Leningrad area, close to the Baltic Sea, on Sunday as Moscow continues sabre-rattling amid fears Putin plans to invade Ukraine

Two Russian T-72 tanks participate in coaching drills within the Leningrad area of Russia on Sunday, amid warnings an invasion of Ukraine might come as quickly as Wednesday

A Russian tank takes half in drills within the Leningrad area, as Moscow continues to menace Ukraine with army workout routines

Ukrainian troops participate in tank coaching within the Kharkiv area, near the border with Russia, final week

Russian assault submarine Rostov-on-Don is pictured crusing into the Black Sea by way of the Bosphorus strait, with Turkey’s Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia Mosque pictured within the background

148,000 Russian troops backed by hundreds of tanks, artillery items, missile launchers and assault helicopters have now massed on Ukraine’s border amid fears and invasion will happen this week

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is pictured arriving in Kiev at the moment for talks along with his Ukrainian counterpart, earlier than heading to Moscow amid a contemporary spherical of diplomacy

Scholz (left) sits down for talks with Ukraine’s President Zelensky (proper) in Kiev at the moment – the place he is anticipated to supply extra monetary assist to the nation because it faces down a Russian assault

Ambassador rows again suggestion thatUkraine may very well be ‘versatile’ on becoming a member of NATO

Ukraine’s ambassador to the UK has rowed again from an obvious suggestion that the nation might take into account dropping its ambition to affix Nato to keep away from warfare with Russia.

Vadym Prystaiko stated the constitutional dedication to becoming a member of Nato remained, having beforehand indicated the nation would take into account making ‘severe concessions’ to keep away from the chance of an invasion by Vladimir Putin’s forces.

Mr Prystaiko stated that whereas Ukraine was open to negotiations with Russia, the problem of its ambitions to affix the alliance was not on the desk.

On Sunday night time on BBC 5 Live he was requested whether or not Ukraine would ponder dropping its intention of becoming a member of Nato.

He stated: ‘We would possibly, particularly if threatened like that, blackmailed like that and pushed to it.’

The feedback raised eyebrows in Kyiv and Downing Street and on Monday morning the diplomat returned to the printed studios to make clear his position.

‘We usually are not a member of Nato proper now and to keep away from warfare we’re prepared for a lot of concessions and that is what we’re doing in our conversations with Russia,’ he advised BBC Breakfast.

‘But it has nothing to do with Nato, which is enshrined within the structure.’

Stressing that the dedication to becoming a member of Nato had not shifted, he identified that Ukraine wouldn’t be a member of the alliance by Wednesday – reportedly highlighted by US intelligence companies as a possible day for an invasion.

‘It’s not taking place earlier than Wednesday so now we have to seek out the answer proper now, now we have to seek out the buddies who will stick with us,’ he stated.

‘We additionally need to work with Russia, which we’re doing any longer, it isn’t simply the West working for us – we’re having negotiations with the Russians ourselves.

‘But it has nothing to do with Nato, we’re speaking about jap Ukraine, we’re speaking about Crimea, not about Nato.’

Stanislav Gadzhimagomedov issued the risk Monday, two days after Moscow complained that an American submarine had entered its waters close to the Kuril Islands within the far jap Pacific.

The Kremlin stated the submarine repeatedly ignored warnings to depart earlier than turning round after ‘acceptable measures’ had been used.

Gadzhimagomedov was requested whether or not Russia’s navy stands prepared to fireplace upon such vessels and stated that it does, although the decision would must be made ‘on the highest degree.’  

Russia has latched on to these warnings to accuse the US and ally Britain of issuing their very own propaganda aimed toward ‘illegally inciting warfare in Ukraine’. 

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova stated on Monday: ‘What we’re at the moment witnessing is pure warfare propaganda.

‘Aggressive rhetoric is offering cover for arms deliveries to Ukraine, the deployment of army instructors there, the holding of Nato army workout routines close to Russia’s borders, and the creation by Western states of offensive combined-arms infrastructure.’

She claimed: ‘What the US and Britain at the moment are doing is classical warfare propaganda.’

Such actions had been banned by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1966, she stated.

The Covenant was handed on the top of the Cold War with the intention ‘not solely of defending human rights, however of main humanity away from the abyss in direction of which the army rhetoric of Nato international locations had pushed it in these years’, she stated.

‘The Soviet Union (and later Russia) and dozens of different states throughout the entire world, understanding the intense hazard which warfare propaganda could represent, voluntarily reject this threatening follow.

‘But neither Washington nor London deprives itself of the chance to carry a match to a haystack…

‘The US and UK have taken from their again pockets a software which they have been preserving protected for a great half-century.

‘And now they’re waving it round like a truncheon, sustaining this managed hysteria by the CNN and Bloomberg media holdings and the British tabloids, influencing public opinion of their international locations.’

Russia has constantly denied having any plans to assault, however continues to maneuver further {hardware} into border zones and has stored up with sabre-rattling army drills that seem aimed toward intimidating its neighbour. 

On Sunday, photographs revealed that Putin has moved assault helicopters to the border – a major step as aerial energy was one of many final capabilities his forces had been missing within the occasion an invasion does go forward.

The Russian army additionally launched new photographs and movies of tank drills going down within the Leningrad area, close to the Baltic Sea.  

Military gear was additionally captured on the transfer in Kursk, Belgorod, and Voronezh areas in addition to in Liptsek and Saratov in social media posts.

Russian and Belarusian Su-30SMs additionally staged joint patrols over Belarus. 

A contemporary spherical of diplomatic talks between European leaders aimed toward heading off an assault are additionally going down this week, although there seems little room for progress. 

Putin is persevering with to demand that Ukraine be banned from ever becoming a member of NATO and that it withdraw forces from ex-Soviet states – one thing the alliance has categorically dominated out.

Valentyna Konstantynovska, 79, takes half in a coaching session organised by members of Ukraine’s nationwide guard for civilians in Mariupol – a Black Sea port metropolis that is near the frontlines with Russia

A baby is taught how one can load and unload bullets from an AK-47 journal throughout a coaching classes for civilians organised by Ukraine’s nationwide guard within the metropolis of Mariupol

A member of Ukraine’s Special Forces Unit Azov, a part of the National Guard, reveals a lady how one can intention an AK-47 rifle whereas laying down throughout a coaching session within the metropolis of Mariupol

A lady goals an AK-47 rifle throughout coaching organised by Ukraine’s nationwide guard models within the metropolis of Mariupol, near the frontlines with Russia

Russian troops of the Northern Fleet Marine Corps fireplace an Igla anti-aircraft rocket launcher throughout coaching workout routines in Murmansk, positioned within the far north, on February 10

America and NATO have as a substitute outlined plenty of different areas – together with arms management treaties – the place they’re keen to barter, although these had been dismissed by the Kremlin as secondary considerations.

Vadym Prystaiko, Ukraine’s ambassador to the UK, had steered early Monday that the nation may very well be ‘versatile’ over its objective of becoming a member of NATO if it meant avoiding a bloody battle.

But his comment was rapidly shot down by Sergii Nykyforov – spokesman for President Volodymyr Zelensky – who stated becoming a member of the alliance stays the federal government’s ‘absolute precedence’. 

‘This course is not solely mirrored within the Constitution, however is additionally the total consent of the authorities and society,’ Mr Nykyforov advised Reuters.

‘Mr. Ambassador used the phrase ‘flexibility’. I believe it is price giving him the chance to elucidate what precisely he had in thoughts’.

Boris Johnson is making ready for a whistle-stop tour of Europe this week as he leads efforts to avert a battle and to reassure different western allies in jap Europe that they won’t be in danger if Putin assaults.

While the Prime Minister’s itinerary has not been made clear, it is thought he’ll head to Nordic and Baltic international locations.

Though the Baltics are positioned lots of of miles from Ukraine, the leaders of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have lengthy feared that Putin might also assault them in an effort to convey them again below his management.

Any invasion of Ukraine would heighten these fears additional, and virtually definitely result in requires NATO to ship extra army {hardware} to the area.

All three nations are members of the alliance and as-such are protected by the mutual defence pledge which states that an assault on anyone member will probably be thought-about an assault on all. 

Elsewhere German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who has come below fireplace for his soft-touch stance in direction of Russia, headed to Kiev at the moment earlier than a meeting in Moscow aimed toward heading off warfare.

Scholz is anticipated to debate providing extra monetary assist to Ukraine to assist in the occasion of an invasion, sources stated, however is not anticipated to supply army support.

That is regardless of Germany deploying some 70 troops to Lithuania at the moment, which is a part of a ramp-up of forces within the area – which is near Russia.

The German chancellor’s visits will thus be intently watched for a indicators he is deviating from the message delivered by Washington and different NATO allies.

Moscow’s response to his go to may also be scrutinised after the Kremlin used related visits by different international leaders to heap scorn and humiliation on them.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is pictured at his desk on Sunday, as his authorities continues to insist that it sees no indicators of an imminent Russian invasion regardless of warnings from the US

Ukrainian troops examine a cargo of American-made Humvee vans shipped from Lithuania as a part of army support deliveries to assist in any battle with Russia

An American Osprey plane is pictured touchdown at Rzeszow-Jasionka Airport in Poland, near the border with Ukraine 

An American C-17A army transport airplane is pictured at Rzeszow-Jasionka Airport in Poland, because the US sends reinforcements to its NATO ally amid fears Russia may very well be about to assault Ukraine

Ukrainian troopers live-fire a Javelin anti-tank missile despatched to them by America so as to deter an assault by Russia

Liz Truss visited Moscow final week the place she met with Foreign Secretary Sergei Lavrov, who likened speaking along with her to talking with a ‘deaf individual’ throughout a joint press convention afterwards.

Lavrov accused her of failing to say bilateral relations throughout the summit, and sources say she was fed a number of ‘gotcha’ questions designed to point out up a scarcity of geographical data throughout the ’embarrassing’ summit.

French President Emmanuel Macron additionally visited Moscow final week, and got here away enthused about ensures he claimed to have secured from Putin.

Elysee officers even went as far as to recommend that Macron had managed to get Putin to agree to finish army drills close to the border, earlier than the Kremlin rubbished the declare.

Since then, tens of hundreds of latest troops together with warships and assault helicopters have been moved into the area, with drills going down nearly day-after-day. 

Defence minister James Heappey stated the build-up of Russian forces on the border signifies that Vladimir Putin may give an order and missiles and bombs can be hitting targets inside ‘minutes’.

In a spherical of interviews as stress ramps up, Mr Heappey insisted it was nonetheless potential to keep away from a flashpoint however ‘we’re nearer than we have been on this continent’ to warfare ‘for 70 years’.

The grim evaluation got here as Boris Johnson prepares to launch a contemporary diplomatic blitz with a whistle-stop tour of Europe, warning that scenario is at ‘a crucial juncture’.

Meanwhile, Tories have urged the West to face agency evaluating the standoff with Moscow to the Cuban Missile Crisis – amid requires Russian banks to be frozen out of economic markets.

Britain yesterday pledged ‘additional financial assist to Ukraine’ as greater than 130,000 Russian troops stood massed at its borders.

German cell Howitzers arrive in Lithuania because the nation tries to reassure NATO allies within the face of Russian aggression

German troops are pictured arriving in Lithuania at the moment as a part of a brand new NATO deployment, amid the standoff with Russia

German cell howitzer artillery are pictured in Lithuania, the place they’ve been deployed as a part of NATO commitments

Chancellor Olaf Scholz is pictured boarding a airplane out of Germany has he visits Kiev after which Moscow in an try to move off the chance of warfare in jap Europe

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace will attend a meeting along with his Nato counterparts in Brussels this week to organize the safety alliance’s response to any assault on Ukrainian sovereignty.

Oil costs climbed to contemporary seven-year highs amid considerations that sanctions would disrupt exports from Russia, a significant oil producer, in an already tight market. 

The greenback hit a two-week excessive as buyers sought a protected haven. Russian and Ukrainian bond items fell sharply.

Sanctions might rebound on Western powers, which rely closely on Russia for power provides, notably fuel, in addition to different uncooked supplies.

European banks particularly worry that Russia may very well be excluded from the SWIFT international fee system, which might stop the compensation of Russian money owed.

U.S. plane maker Boeing Co buys a lot of its titanium for airframes from Russia’s VSMPO-AVISMA – however stated it was assured that different suppliers would allow it to work by any provide chain disruption. 

Scholz could obtain a cool reception in Kyiv, which has lengthy resented the German-Russian Nord Stream 2 project – a pipeline that can permit Russia to avoid Ukraine for its fuel exports to Germany – and has bristled at Germany’s refusal to affix different NATO companions in promoting it weapons. 

The Kremlin stated it anticipated Putin’s talks with Scholz on Tuesday to handle Ukraine, safety ensures for Russia, and Nord Stream 2, which is awaiting European Union approval.

U.S. President Joe Biden’s National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan stated on Sunday that an invasion might start ‘any day now’, however U.S. officers stated they might not affirm stories that U.S. intelligence indicated it might begin on Wednesday.

Sullivan stated the United States would additionally ‘defend each inch of NATO territory … and Russia, we predict, totally understands that message’. 

Biden advised Putin in a telephone name on Saturday that any assault would hurt and isolate Moscow. 

As tensions proceed to build, airways have began cancelling flights to Ukraine with others saying which might be ‘intently’ following the scenario there.

Dutch service KLM has cancelled all flights to and from the nation, whereas Germany’s Lufthansa stated flights will proceed for now however are being stored below review.

The Netherlands is notably delicate to the dangers of flights over potential warfare zones after the shoot-down of MH17 over jap Ukraine in 2014.

The Malaysia Airlines flight was heading from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it was hit by a surface-to-air missile fired by Russian-backed separatists who mistook it for a Ukrainian plane.

All 298 individuals on board had been killed, two thirds of whom had been Dutch.