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Ukrainian Leaders Say That Russian Invasion Is Not Imminent

While acknowledging there has been a continued build-up of Russian troops for a year, the country's leaders say there is no need for alarm

Ukrainian leaders aimed to reassure the nation that an invasion from Russia was not imminent in statements on Tuesday.

Moscow has continuously denied it is planning an assault. However, in recent weeks, the nation has amassed roughly 100,000 troops near the Ukraine border. The Russian forces are also holding military drills at multiple locations in Russia. 

These actions have led the United States and multiple NATO allies to prepare for a possible invasion.

President Joe Biden told reporters that Russian President Vladimir Putin “continues to build forces along Ukraine’s border,” and an attack “would be the largest invasion since World War II. It would change the world.”

Several meetings between the two world leaders have failed to produce the desired results. 

The U.S. placed 8,500 troops on high alert this week for potential deployment to Europe as part of a NATO alliance “response force.” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson also said he is prepared to send troops if needed.

“We have no intention of putting American forces or NATO forces in Ukraine,” Biden said this week. He has continued to state that Putin would have severe economic consequences, including personal sanctions, should Russia invade Ukraine.

In a show of European unity in Berlin, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron called for easing the crisis.

Scholz said this week he wanted to “clear steps from Russia that will contribute to a de-escalation of the situation.” 

Macron said he would talk to Putin by phone Friday. The French president also noted, “If there is aggression, there will be retaliation, and the cost will be very high.”

This week, the U.S. State Department ordered the families of all American personnel at the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv to leave the country. The State Department also said that all nonessential embassy staff could go as well.

Britain said it was also withdrawing some diplomats and dependents from its embassy.

However, Ukrainian leadership has sought to show a state of repose. In the second televised speech to the nation, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy advised Ukrainians not to panic as of now.

“We are strong enough to keep everything under control and derail any attempts at destabilization,” he said.

The decision by the US, Britain, Australia, Germany, and Canada to withdraw their diplomats and dependents from Kyiv “doesn’t necessarily signal an inevitable escalation and is part of a complex diplomatic game,” Zelenskyy said.

On Tuesday, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov told parliament that “as of today, there are no grounds to believe” Russia will invade imminently. Reznikov noted that its troops had not formed a battle group to force an invasion of the nation’s border.

Russia has declared that Western accusations of a planned attack are merely a cover for NATO’s own motivations. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov accused the U.S. of “fomenting tensions” around Ukraine.

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