The government of Ukraine has called for a meeting with Russia and other members of a European security group, Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), over the escalating tensions on its border.
Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Russia had ignored formal requests to explain the build-up of troops on its borders with Russia, annexed Crimea and neighboring Belarus.
Kuleba said the “next step” was requesting a meeting within the next 48 hours for “transparency” about Russia’s plans.
This comes with Russia denying any plans to invade Ukraine despite the build-up of some 100,000 soldiers on Ukraine’s borders.
The US and UK have warned that Russia is preparing for military action and revealed over the weekend that Russia could invade on Wednesday, February 16, with the US saying Moscow could begin with aerial bombardments “at any time”.
Several nations have urged their citizens to leave Ukraine, and some have pulled embassy staff from the capital, Kyiv.
On Monday morning February 14 Kuleba said Ukraine had, on Friday, February 12 demanded answers from Russia about their intentions under the rules of the Vienna Document, an agreement about security issues adopted by the members of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which includes Russia.
“If Russia is serious when it talks about the indivisibility of security in the OSCE space, it must fulfil its commitment to military transparency in order to de-escalate tensions and enhance security for all,” he said.
However, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky, has said “panic” could spread from such claims, adding that he had seen no proof that Russia was planning an invasion in the coming days.
On Sunday, he spoke for an hour by phone with US President Joe Biden.
The US says President Biden had reiterated US support for Ukraine, and that both leaders had agreed on “the importance of continuing to pursue diplomacy and deterrence”.
Ukraine’s statement of the call said its president thanked the US for its “unwavering support” and that, at the end, President Zelensky invited the US leader to come to Ukraine. There has been no comment on the invite from the White House.
Russia’s key demands – that Ukraine is never allowed to join the Nato military alliance – is not up for debate according to Transatlantic military alliance, NATO, saying the alliance’s door must remain open to new members.
Russia says that its build-up of troops along the Ukraine border is its own concern, within its own territory. On Sunday, senior Russian foreign policy official Yuri Ushakov said the US warnings of imminent invasion as “hysteria has reached its peak”.