Paris: A series of high level talks are in the works on Tuesday to avert the threat of war as Russian troops mass by the tens of thousands on the borders of Ukraine.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to make an appearance with the Hungarian prime minister, while British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is taking a break from his troubles at home for a meeting in Kyiv with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. The Kremlin also announced Putin’s in-person meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron in the foreseeable future.
CROSSED DIPLOMATIC MESSAGING
Russia denies it has sent a reponse to the U.S. proposal aimed at deescalating the Ukraine crisis.
Multiple Biden administration officials said that the Russian government had provided a written response to the U.S. proposals, but Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko on Tuesday told Russia’s state RIA Novosti news agency that this was not true.
The agency also cited an unnamed senior diplomat in the Russian Foreign Ministry as saying that Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov sent a message to his Western colleagues, including U.S. State Secretary Antony Blinken about the principle of indivisibility of security, but it wasn’t a response to Washington’s proposals.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Tuesday that there has been confusion Russia’s response to the U.S. proposals is still in the works, and what was sent were other considerations, on a somewhat different issue. Lavrov and Blinken are scheduled to speak Tuesday.
__ Daria Litvinova
WHAT WOULD A UKRAINIAN RESISTANCE LOOK LIKE?
The eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv is divided between people who are enthusiastically volunteering to join a civil resistance to a potential Russian invasion and those who just want to live their lives.
Which side wins out in Kharkiv, which is Ukraine’s second largest city and is just 40 kilometers (25 miles) from where Russian troops are massing, could well determine the fate of the country.
A guerrilla war fought by dentists, coaches and housewives defending a hometown of a thousand basement shelters would be a nightmare for Russian military planners, according to both analysts and U.S. intelligence officials. And that’s exactly what many people in Kharkiv and across Ukraine say they’re planning.
Both our generation and our children are ready to defend themselves. This will not be an easy war, said Maryna Tseluiko, a 40-year-old baker who signed up as a reservist with her 18-year-old daughter in Kyiv.
__ Mystyslav Chernov and Lori Hinnant
UKRAINE SECURITY CHIEF WARNS AGAINST INTERNAL UNREST
Ukraine’s security chief said Russian forces massed on the border haven’t made the kind of preparations that signal an imminent invasion, and he warned that sowing panic could lead to internal unrest that would benefit Moscow.
Oleksiy Danilov, the secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, told The Associated Press that about 120,000 Russian troops are concentrated near Ukraine and Moscow, but said an imminent invasion would require massive preparations that would be easily spotted.
We can’t allow panic in the country, Danilov told the AP. It’s very difficult for us to maintain control over the economic situation when all the media keep saying that the war will start tomorrow. Panic is a sister of defeat.
He said Russian President Vladimir Putin hopes to achieve his goal of destroying Ukraine through internal destabilisation even without an invasion.