Ukraine news – live: Putin warned of ‘enormous consequences’ as Biden says Russian invasion would change world

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Joe Biden has said there would be “enormous consequences” globally if Russia invaded Ukraine.

An estimated 100,000 or so Russian troops are amassed on the Ukraine border. Mr Biden said if Vladimir Putin were to order them to move in “it would be the largest invasion since World War II, it would change the world.”

He added: “There would be enormous consequences if he were to go in and invade ... for Russia, not only in terms of economic consequences and political consequences but enormous consequences worldwide.”

Sources told the Independent that the United States was preparing economic sanctions aiming to “maximise pain in the Kremlin” if Russia invades.

The plans, which were being discussed with partners and allies, could include export controls and financial sanctions, sources said.

They will be designed to “maximise pain the Kremlin while also minimising the spillover” elsewhere, the source said.

In the UK, Boris Johnson said he would “not hesitate” to toughen economic sanctions against Russia in the event of an invasion.

Key Points

  • Biden warns Russia of ‘enormous global consequences’ of Ukraine invasion

  • US prepares sanctions to ‘maximise pain’ for Russia

  • UK defence minister: ‘Russian military associates already in Ukraine’

  • Invasion of Ukraine would be ‘tragic and futile’, PM warns Putin

  • Nato sending more fighter jets and ships to Eastern Europe

  • Liz Truss to visit Ukraine

  • Russia has accused the West of “hysteria” and said Nato is stoking tensions

  • Ukraine president urges public not to panic

US to discuss energy supply with Qatar amid fears Russia could cut Europe off

02:30 , Liam James

Joe Biden will discuss global energy security with the leader of Qatar next week, the White House said amid concerns that Russia could cut off gas supplies to Europe.

Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani will meet the president in the White House as the US launched talks with energy-producing states and firms bout a potential diversion of supplies to Europe if Russia invades Ukraine.

Antony Blinken, US secretary of state, discussed the matter with the foreign minister of Qatar, a top liquefied natural gas producer, in a phone call on Monday, according to a source familiar with the matter who requested anonymity.

Mr Tamim's meeting with Mr Biden at the White House will provide the leaders with an opportunity to discuss “ensuring the stability of global energy supplies,” Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, said in a statement.

Washington is concerned that Russia, which has massed more than 100,000 troops on Ukraine's borders, could invade its neighbor, triggering US and European sanctions that would prompt the Kremlin to halt deliveries of Russian gas to Europe.

UK and US discuss banning Russia from global payment platform

01:30 , Liam James

Boris Johnson said he was discussing banning Russia from the Swift global payments system with the United States.

Asked about the Swift payment system and whether Britain would ban Russia, Mr Johnson said: “There is no doubt that that would be a very potent weapon.”

“I'm afraid it can only really be deployed with the assistance of the United States though. We are in discussions about that.”

Banishment from Swift would disrupt the international payments of Russian firms and institutions.

The US is preparing a sweeping tranche of economic sanctions to “maximise pain in the Kremlin” if Russia invades Ukraine, The Independent has been told by a US government source.

These could include blocking financial transfers from Russia’s three biggest banks, two additional sources said.

Western leaders warn Russia it will pay high price if it invades Ukraine

00:30 , Liam James

French president Emmanuel Macron told Russia that it would “pay a high price” if any invasion of Ukraine went ahead (Thomas Kingsley writes).

Mr Macron’s warning came as he met new German leader Olaf Scholz in Berlin on Tuesday as eleventh-hour discussions to avert war in Europe continued.

“If there is an attack, there will be retaliation and the price [for Russia] will be very high,” Mr Macron said. He added that recent talks were a “god thing” but were yet to show any clear results.

His comments came on another day of fevered diplomatic discussions with British prime minister Boris Johnson also warning against any military action on Russia’s part, claiming it would prove “tragic and futile”.

He told the House of Commons: “If Russia pursues this path, many Russian mothers’ sons will not be coming home.”

Western leaders warn Russia it will pay high price if it invades Ukraine

Ukraine situation ‘not de-escalating’ yet, says US State Department

23:30 , Liam James

The situation with Russian troops at the Ukraine border is not considered to be moving in the right direction, the US State Department said.

Ned Price, the US State Department spokesman, said in a press briefing: ‘I don’t think we’ve seen any concrete evidence of de-escalation just yet

’”We haven’t seen the de-escalation that is necessary for diplomacy and dialogue to be successful.

“There is not a precondition for dialogue and diplomacy, but there is a precondition for that dialogue and diplomacy moving in the right direction … and that precondition is de-escalation.”

Biden warns Russia of ‘enormous global consequences’ of Ukraine invasion

22:38 , Liam James

Joe Biden has said there would be “enormous consequences” globally if Russia invaded Ukraine.

Russia is thought to have amassed more than 100,000 troops on the border with its neighbour and is feared to be planning an invasion. Western leaders are anticipating Russia’s next move.

Talking to reporters about the US approach to the situation on a visit to a gift shop in DC, Mr Biden said: “There would be enormous consequences if he were to go in and invade - as he could - the entire country ... for Russia, not only in terms of economic consequences and political consequences but enormous consequences worldwide.”

“If he were to move in with all those forces, it would be the largest invasion since World War II. It would change the world.”

Russia-Ukraine: Key points from Tuesday

22:30 , Liam James

9am: ‘Russian military associates already in Ukraine’, says UK defence minister [post]

11am: UK would face record-high gas prices if Russia invades Ukraine [post]

1pm: Boris Johnson warns Putin invasion of Ukraine would be ‘tragic and futile’ [post]

2pm: UK foreign secretary Liz Truss to visit Ukraine [post]

5pm: French president Macron to call Putin on friday for "clarification" on Ukraine situation [post]

6pm: Ukraine president urges public not to panic [post]

7pm: US prepares sanctions to ‘maximise pain’ for Russia if it invades Ukraine [post]

Russia-Ukraine escalation likely to force energy prices up

21:40 , Liam James

An escalated conflict between Russia and Ukraine would likely force energy prices higher for many countries, sustaining high inflation rates, a top International Monetary Fund (IMF) official has said.

Gita Gopinath, second in command at the IMF, said the situation now was far different than in 2014 when Russia annexed the Crimea region of Ukraine, and energy prices fell quite sharply amid low demand and ample shale gas supplies.

“This time around ... if this conflict were to happen, you would see an increase in energy prices,” Ms Gopinath told Reuters, noting the current crisis was unfolding in winter and natural gas reserves were much lower in Europe.

Prices of other commodities exported by Russia such as were also rising, and could trigger a “bigger, broad-based increase” in commodities prices if the conflict ratcheted up, she told Reuters after the release of the IMF's updated World Economic Outlook.

Russia's economy contracted by 3.7 per cent in 2015 due to falling oil prices and international sanctions imposed after the annexation of Crimea.

The IMF currently estimates that Russia's economy will grow 2.8 per cent in 2022, but that forecast does not include concerns about the conflict, Ms Gopinath said.

Watch: Biden says he will personally sanction Putin if Russia invades Ukraine

21:05 , Liam James

‘Encouraging’ signs from Biden against Russian aggression, says McConnell

20:30 , Rory Sullivan

Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader in the US senate, is a frequent critic of Joe Biden.

However, he said on Tuesday that the US president’s administration is “moving in the right direction” regarding its response to the crisis in Ukraine.

Last week, Mr McConnell said Mr Biden had “telegraphed passivity and weakness” to the Kremlin, which has amassed more than 100,000 troops at the Ukrainian border.

But this view appears to have changed. “What I’ve been hearing since then is encouraging, that they’re prepared to take steps before an incursion, not afterwards,” he said in Kentucky.

More US military hardware lands in Ukraine

20:10 , Rory Sullivan

The US has delivered more military hardware to Ukraine amid the threat of a Russian incursion.

Anti-tank missiles were seen being unloaded on Tuesday, as part of Washington’s $200m security package supporting Kyiv.

Ukrainian defence minister Oleksii Reznikov thanked his allies for the latest delivery.

“Javelins in Kyiv! A new cargo of security aid - launchers & missiles - with a total weight of about 80 tons. We expect the arrival of the 4th from the big flock of birds soon,” he tweeted.

Biden to consider sanctioning Putin

19:48 , Rory Sullivan

Joe Biden said the US will consider the unusual step of imposing sanctions against Russian President Vladimir Putin if he invades Ukraine.

When asked if he would contemplate such a move under those circumstances, the American president said: “Yes, I would see that.”

The US generally does not bring sanctions against leaders of other countries. However, Mr Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump did so against Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro in 2017 and against Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in 2019.

US prepares sanctions to ‘maximise pain’ for Russia if it invades Ukraine | Exclusive

19:15 , Liam James

The United States is preparing a sweeping tranche of economic sanctions to “maximise pain in the Kremlin” if Russia invades Ukraine, The Independent has been told by a US government source (Anna Isaac writes).

These could include blocking financial transfers from Russia’s three biggest banks, two additional sources said.

The first US official said that the US, working with its partners and allies is “preparing massive sanctions” that are far beyond any measures which were on the table in 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea. These could include export controls, as well as financial sanctions.

They will be designed to “maximise pain the Kremlin while also minimising the spillover” elsewhere, the US government source said.

Read the full report here:

US plans sanctions to ‘maximize pain’ for Russia if it invades Ukraine

Biden doesn’t plan to send troops to Ukraine, says White House

18:56 , Liam James

Joe Biden does not intend to send troops to Ukraine, the White House said after US forces were put on alert to potentially deploy to Europe to support Nato forces.

Alert was raised for some 8,500 US troops on Monday as the Pentagon sought to reassure Nato allies in the face of a Russian military build-up.

This afternoon, Jen Psaki, White House spokesperson, said: “Just to be clear: there is no intention or interest or desire by the president to send troops to Ukraine. Nato is a forum to support our eastern flank partners and countries, and that's what the focus has been on.”

John Kirby, Pentagon spokesman, said on Monday that the bulk of the 8,500 troops were being put on alert for possible deployment to Nato territory in eastern Europe so they could join a rapid response force if called on.

Nato sent reinforcements to eastern Europe on Monday. It has about 4,000 multinational troops in Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia and Poland, backed by tanks, air defences and intelligence and surveillance units.

Boris Johnson said the UK was also prepared to deploy troops to bolster Nato forces if Russia invades Ukraine as feared.

Ukraine president urges public not to panic

18:28 , Liam James

Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, has urged the public to stay calm about the threat of a Russian invasion and said he was working towards a meeting between the leaders of Russia, France and Germany.

In a televised video address, Zelensky said the withdrawal of personnel from Western embassies in Kyiv did not mean a military escalation with Russia was inevitable.

He said: “There are no rose-coloured glasses, no childish illusions, everything is not simple .... But there is hope.

”Protect your body from viruses, your brain from lies, your heart from panic.“

France and Germany supported talks for a ceasefire in Ukraine's Donbas region in 2015, where Russia backed separatist fighters. The two EU countries said they support the independence of Ukraine.

Political advisers from Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany are set to meet in Paris tomorrow.

Emmanuel Macron, president of France, said he will speak on the phone with Vladimir Putin on Friday.

Finland’s military stirs as Russia builds up troops by Ukraine

18:04 , Liam James

Finland said tension over the Ukraine situation has spurred a change in its military.

“Readiness [of the Finnish Defence Forces] has been enhanced due to the fact that the situation in nearby areas has become more unstable,” said Colonel Petteri Kajanmaa, head of the warfare department at the Finnish National Defence University.

Finland, which is not a member of Nato and has a long border and a difficult history with Russia, has provided no details of how its “military readiness” has changed.

Col Kajanmaa said Finland was not the target of any military threat but the defence forces still needed to be prepared for any potential action.

He said: “The more military action there is, even if it was just innocent movement, the higher the risk that something happens, someone overreacts or misunderstands and we need to be ready for all that.”

France’s Macron: Russia becoming force for destabilisation

17:40 , Liam James

Emmanuel Macron, president of France, said Russia was becoming a force for destabilisation as he joined Olaf Scholz, the German chancellor, at a press conference in Berlin.

He said he will ask Vladimir Putin for clarification on the Ukraine situation when they call one another on Friday.

France and Germany will not abandon dialogue with Russia but the price will be high if Moscow choose to invade Ukraine as feared, he said.

France and Germany ‘keen for de-escalation’

17:18 , Liam James

Reports have said that Emmanuel Macron, the French president, and Olaf Scholz, the German chancellor, said they are both “keen for de-escalation” of the current tension surrounding Ukraine. We will let you know more as we hear it.

Mr Macron and Mr Scholz were in the meeting last night between Nato leaders including Joe Biden and Boris Johnson where unity in the face of the threat from Russia was at the top of the agenda.

US in talks with major energy producing countries in light of Ukraine crisis

16:09 , Holly Bancroft

The United States is in talks with major energy-producing counties over supplies if Russia invades Ukraine, Reuters have reported.

Senior Biden administration officials told reporters that they were in talks to ensure an uninterrupted energy flow into Europe.

“We’ve been working to identify additional volumes of non- Russian natural gas from various areas of the world; from North Africa and the Middle East to Asia and the United States,” a senior administration official said on condition of anonymity.

“Correspondingly, we’re ... in discussions with major natural gas producers around the globe to understand their capacity and willingness to temporarily surge natural gas output and to allocate these volumes to European buyers.”

Don’t put yourselves at risk over Russian military exercises, Irish fishermen told

15:54 , Holly Bancroft

Fishermen who plan to protest Russia’s military exercises off the coast of Ireland have been warned not to put themselves at risk by the country’s deputy premier.

Patrick Murphy, chief executive of the Irish South and West Fish Producers Organisation, said some of its members plan to hold a protest against the military exercises next month.

When asked about the fisherman’s plans, Leo Varadkar said on Tuesday: “I haven’t had the chance to speak to any of the fishermen operating in that area.

“I suppose I would just say to them that these are military vessels. Whatever they choose to do in terms of any protests, just make sure that they don’t put themselves at risk.”

He added: “We have made it very clear that these exercises are not welcome, particularly in the current context, when tensions are rising in relation to Ukraine.”

Read the full story here:

Don’t put yourselves at risk over Russia exercises plan, Irish fishermen told

Russia may already have personnel in place in Ukraine to assist with invasion, UK minister says

15:40 , Holly Bancroft

Defence secretary Ben Wallace has told MPs that there are individuals already in Ukraine that are “linked to the Russian state in ways that are not conventional” and “that should give cause for concern.”

He added: “We are becoming aware of a significant number of individuals that are assessed to be associated with Russian military advance force operations that currently are located in Ukraine.”

Mr Wallace warned Russia against any incursion into Ukraine, saying: “Any crossing into Ukraine, whether small or large, would be viewed as a breach of that sovereignty, against international law and an invasion.

“You can’t be half-pregnant, you are either invading a country or you are not”.

Defence secretary Ben Wallace (AFP via Getty Images)
Defence secretary Ben Wallace (AFP via Getty Images)

Canada withdrawing families of diplomats in Ukraine

15:26 , Holly Bancroft

Canada announced on Tuesday that it is temporarily withdrawing the families of its diplomats in Ukraine because of rising tensions.

“Due to the ongoing Russian military buildup and destabilizing activities in and around Ukraine, we have decided to temporarily withdraw Canadian embassy staff’s children under 18 years of age and family members accompanying them,” the Canadian foreign ministry said in a statement.

Russia runs new military exercises

14:57 , Holly Bancroft

Russia launched new military exercises on Tuesday, including with short-range ballistic missile units.

Russia’s Western Military District announced the exercises to “comprehensively check forces’ combat readiness.”

Other drills, with aviation units from the Southern Military District and Black Sea Fleet, were also announced.

More than 60 fighter jets and bombers were to take part in the exercise and some units near to Ukraine and in Crimea were involved.

Ukraine’s volunteer army prepares for war

14:45 , Rory Sullivan

Faced with a potential Russian invasion, Ukraine is bolstering its army with new recruits.

Many Ukrainian civilians have volunteered to defend their land in the event of a war.

“What choice have we got? We need to be united and be ready for anything,” Oleksii Bida, a 47-year-old graphic designer, told The Independent this week.

Here’s the full report from Kim Sengupta:

‘What choice have we got?’: Ukraine’s volunteer army prepares for war

Explainer: What is the Russian-Ukrainian crisis?

14:26 , Rory Sullivan

Trouble has been brewing for weeks on the Russian-Ukrainian border, as Moscow contemplates an offensive against its neighbour.

But why might the Kremlin invade? And how has the international community responded to the Russian military build-up?

My colleague Thomas Kingsley has the details:

Everything you need to know about the Ukraine-Russia crisis

Ministers must urgently tackle Russian ‘dirty Russian money', warns senior Tory MP

14:14 , Rory Sullivan

A senior Tory MP has warned that the UK’s support for Ukraine could be “undermined” if British minister do not act to tackle “dirty Russian money flowing through our system”.

Tom Tugendhat, the chair of the foreign select committee, asked the prime minister to work with European allies to convince Kremlin insiders that an incursion would be highly damaging for them.

Boris Johnson replied that the “best way” to get Moscow’s attention was through sanctions.

UK troops will be sent to eastern Europe if Russia invades Ukraine, Boris Johnson says

14:04 , Rory Sullivan

British soldiers will be posted to eastern Europe if Russia invades Ukraine, Boris Johnson has said.

In this eventuality, the UK would look to “contribute to any new Nato deployments to protect our allies in Europe”, the prime minister said.

“There is nothing new about large and powerful nations using the threat of brute force to terrify reasonable people into giving way to completely unacceptable demands,” he added.

UK troops will be sent to eastern Europe if Russia invades Ukraine, PM says

Liz Truss to visit Ukraine as she tells Germany to ‘step up’ support

13:52 , Rory Sullivan

British foreign secretary Liz Truss will head to Ukraine next week, amid threats of a Russian attack on its neighbour.

The minister added that Germany should do more to “step up” its military support to Kiev, after the UK sent anti-tank weapons to Ukraine last week.

Liz Truss to visit Ukraine as she tells Germany to ‘step up’ support

Invasion of Ukraine would be ‘tragic and futile’, PM warns Putin

13:47 , Rory Sullivan

Boris Johnson has warned Russian president Vladimir Putin that it would be “tragic and futile” for him to invade Ukraine.

Such a decision would lead to a “path of bloodshed and destruction”, the prime minister added.

Mr Johnson added that Ukrainians were both “determined to fight” and “more skilled at guerrilla warfare” than previously.

“If Russia pursues this path, many Russian mothers’ sons will not be coming home,” he warned.

Ukraine’s resistance would be ‘dogged and tenacious’ if they are invaded, Boris Johnson says

13:39 , Holly Bancroft

Boris Johnson warned that if the “worst happens” in Ukraine the country’s resistance “would be dogged and tenacious, and the bloodshed comparable to the first war in Chechnya or Bosnia”.

He said that the Russian military build-up is “a spectacle that we hoped had been banished from our continent”, and warned Russia has already “attacked” Ukraine in 2015.

Mr Johnson said: “If the worst happens, and the destructive firepower of the Russian army were to engulf Ukraine’s towns and cities I shudder to contemplate the tragedy that would ensue.

“Ukrainians have every moral and legal right to defend their country and I believe their resistance would be dogged and tenacious, and the bloodshed comparable to the first war in Chechnya or Bosnia, or any other conflict that Europe has endured since 1945.

“No one would gain from such a catastrophe.”

Press Association contributed to this report

Boris Johnson: ‘We can find a path through diplomacy'

13:31 , Holly Bancroft

Prime minister Boris Johnson has said that “we can find a way to allay Russian fears” and “we can find a path to mutual security through diplomacy”.

However Mr Johnson told cabinet ministers on Tuesday that any further aggression on the Ukrainian border would “be a costly disaster for the Russian people”.

Vladimir Putin backs China over Olympics boycott

13:30 , Holly Bancroft

Russian president Vladimir Putin has said that Russia and China share common values and said that he opposed the boycott of Beijing’s Winter Olympics.

Speaking to Russian Olympians on Tuesday, Mr Putin said Russia and its “Chinese friends” shared an approach to international sport.

He said: “Together [with China] we oppose the politicisation of sport and demonstrative boycotts.

“We support traditional Olympic values: equality and justice first of all.”

 (AP)
(AP)

'We will not overturn the European security order because Russia has placed a gun to Ukraine’s head’

13:27 , Holly Bancroft

“We will not overturn the European security order because Russia has placed a gun to Ukraine’s head”, Boris Johnson has said.

Speaking in the House of Commons, he said: “There is nothing new about large and powerful nations using the threat of brute force”.

He added that Putin could not “salami slice” Ukraine and take a smaller portion of the country because the “bloodshed would be enormous”.

Boris Johnson speaking on the Ukraine crisis

13:24 , Holly Bancroft

Prime minister Boris Johnson has said that he will “not hesitate” to toughen economic sanctions against Russia in the event of an incursion.

He said he “shudder to contemplate” the ensuing tragedy if Russian military invade Ukraine.

 (Reuters)
(Reuters)

Labour: Cut Russia out of the global financial system if it invades

13:10 , Holly Bancroft

Labour’s shadow foreign secretary David Lammy has said that the UK should try to “cut Russia out of the global financial system” if it decides to attack Ukraine.

He proposed sanctions which were “unprecedented in depth and severity”.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Lammy said: “We owe it to the people of Ukraine to send a simple and united message that we support their sovereign democratic right to choose their own destiny and we will stand with them in this struggle against Putin’s reckless aggression, and we send a firm message to Putin, an unambiguous message that any aggression will come at a high price.”

He described the economic interventions available, suggesting: “Blocking rouble conversion, halting exports of semi-conductors and finally clamping down on the oligarchs who hide their ill-gotten wells in this capital city.”

Shadow foreign secretary David Lammy (PA)
Shadow foreign secretary David Lammy (PA)

Liz Truss: Russia military incursion would be ‘massive strategic mistake’

12:53 , Holly Bancroft

Foreign secretary Liz Truss has said that a further military incursion by Russia into Ukraine would be “a massive strategic mistake”.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Ms Truss said that she would be visiting Ukraine next week.

She added: “A further military incursion by Russia into Ukraine would be a massive strategic mistake and come with a severe cost on Russia’s economy, including co-ordinated sanctions.”

 (EPA)
(EPA)

UK will use economic sanctions to Russia’s financial sector and individuals in the event of an invasion

12:39 , Holly Bancroft

The UK will target Russia’s “financial sector and individuals” with economic sanctions in response to aggression on the border with Ukraine, a minister has said.

Foreign Office minister Vicky Ford told MPs: “The UK and our allies are unwavering in our support for Ukraine‘s sovereignty and for Ukraine‘s territorial integrity. Any Russian military incursion into Ukraine would be a massive strategic mistake and would come at severe cost to Russia.

“We are working with our partners and developing a package of broad and high-impact sanctions targeting the Russian financial sector and individuals. We are also providing a range of support to enhance Ukraine‘s defensive capability.”

Report from the Press Association.

Hard for Putin to back down from invasion now, says former MI6 chief

12:25 , Holly Bancroft

President Putin would find it hard to avoid an invasion of Ukraine now, the former head of MI6 has warned.

Sir Alex Younger said that, amid a growing Russian military presence on Ukraine’s border, it was “hard to see how [President Putin] can avoid having to follow through to some extent.”

He warned that Western leaders “mustn’t underestimate how serious he is” and said: “I, at the moment, cannot see a scenario where he can back down in a way that satisfies the expectations that he has created.”

ICYMI: Vladimir Putin must face ‘show of strength’ over Ukraine, says Gordon Brown

12:15 , Holly Bancroft

Gordon Brown has said a “show of strength” is needed to face down Russian President Vladimir Putin over a possible fresh incursion in Ukraine.

The former prime minister recalled that Mr Putin’s attitude during his dealings with him was to say he “would not co-operate in any way”.

Read the full story here:

Vladimir Putin must face ‘show of strength’ over Ukraine, says Gordon Brown

Ukrainian president urges calm and says Russian invasion is not imminent

11:51 , Holly Bancroft

Ukraine’s leaders have sought to reassure the nation that an invasion by Russia is not imminent.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said late on Monday that the situation is “under control” and there is “no reason to panic”, the Associated Press reported.

Ukrainian defence minister Oleksii Reznikov said that Russia’s armed forces had not formed what he called battle groups “which would have indicated that tomorrow they would launch an offensive.”

“There are risky scenarios. They’re possible and probable in the future,” he told Ukrainian television. “But as of today... such a threat doesn’t exist.”

ICYMI: Russian forces are ‘already in Ukraine’, warns UK armed forces minister

11:45 , Holly Bancroft

UK armed forces minister James Heappey has warned that Russian forces are already in Ukraine as tensions ramp up over the prospect of Moscow attacking its neighbour.

Mr Heappey said that a “significant” number of individuals associated with “Russian military advance-force operations” were already in the country ahead of a possible invasion.

Read the full story from my colleague Thomas Kingsley here:

Russian forces are ‘already in Ukraine’, warns UK armed forces minister

UK set to face record-high gas prices if Russia invades Ukraine

11:25 , Holly Bancroft

UK households face record-high gas bills if Vladimir Putin orders Russian forces to invades Ukraine, experts have warned.

Analysts fear that Russia, which is currently supplying around 40 per cent of Europe’s gas imports, could turn off the taps if Moscow is hit with sanctions in response to military aggression.

Read the full story from Ben Chapman here:

UK set to face record-high gas prices if Russia invades Ukraine

Polish PM says he is concerned by German reaction to Russian threat

11:10 , Holly Bancroft

Poland’s prime minister has said he is concerned about the German reaction to the Russian threat to Ukraine.

Mateusz Morawiecki’s comments come after Germany reportedly blocked Nato ally Estonia from giving Ukraine military support.

Writing in a post to his Facebook page, Mr Morawiecki said: “I am concerned about the situation in Ukraine and the reactions of our German neighbours in the face of a threat from Russia.

“The big disappointment is, among others, the withholding of Germany’s consent to the supply of weapons from Estonia to a state that is preparing to defend itself against an aggressor.”

He added that the construction of Nord Stream 2, “Russia’s gas blackmail”, and “the billions invested by Putin in Europe” have given him “tools to terrorise other European countries”.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki (REUTERS)
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki (REUTERS)

Kremlin expressed ‘great concern’ over US troops on alert

10:47 , Holly Bancroft

The Kremlin has expressed concerns over an “exacerbation of tensions” due to Washington’s decision to put 8,500 troops on alert.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Tuesday: “We are watching these US actions with great concern.”

Hacking group ‘claims control of Belarusian railroads to disrupt Russia'

10:27 , Holly Bancroft

A group of pro-democracy hackers calling themselves “Cyber Partisans” claimed on Monday that they had infiltrated the Belarusian rail network in a bid to “disrupt” the movement of Russian troops in the country.

The hackers claimed that they had encrypted some of the railways’ “servers, databases and workstations”.

They said they would return the network to normal if 50 political prisoners were released and the Russian military were barred from Belarus.

Russian military convoys have been arriving in the country for exercise drills.

Some customers were reportedly unable to use parts of the Belarusian railway website.

Gordon Brown: ‘The only thing that Putin understands is strength'

10:10 , Holly Bancroft

Former prime minister Gordon Brown has argued that a “show of strength” is needed from Nato if President Vladimir Putin is going to back down on Ukraine.

He added that “financial and economic sanctions are going to have to be so severe that the Russian autocrats, the Russian oligarchs, and Putin himself and his government are affected by them.”

Mr Brown recalled that during his own dealings with Mr Putin, the Russian leader “would not co-operate in any way”.

He told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: ““You have to be able to stand up to him. Remember the assassinations on British soil? He was going to assassinate other people if we hadn’t stood up to him. The only thing that Putin understands is strength.

“Perhaps belatedly, the right thing to do is a show of strength from Nato and unity from Nato, and that is something that has got to be fought for and making it clear that we will not accept Russian incursions.”

Agencies contributed to this report.

 (PA)
(PA)

Invasion of Ukraine would damage Putin’s popularity at home, former head of British Army says

09:54 , Holly Bancroft

President Vladimir Putin could avoid an invasion of Ukraine because of fears it would damage his popularity in Russia, the former head of the British Army has said.

Lord Dannatt told Times Radio that Putin was “very powerful” but “does not have universal popularity”.

He added: “There is quite an opposition movement to him.

“If Russian television screens get filled with body bags and casualties coming back from a bloody incursion in Ukraine, that will damage his popularity and damage his standing as opposed to boosting his position - so he has got a calculation to make.”

Lord Dannatt said he thought that Ukrainians “will fight and fight hard” if Russia tried to invade.

General Lord Dannatt (PA)
General Lord Dannatt (PA)

UK prime minister in crisis talks with EU, US and Nato

09:35 , Holly Bancroft

Prime minister Boris Johnson held talks with his counterparts in the EU, US and Nato about the Ukraine crisis on Monday.

Mr Johnson took part in a video call with his US, French, Italian, German and Polish counterparts. The president of the European Commission and the Nato secretary-general were also present.

The leaders agreed that they would bring “swift retributive responses” and an “unprecedented package of sanctions” if Russia invades Ukraine.

Downing Street said that Boris Johnson had “underlined the real human cost of any Russian aggression” during the meeting. He also “emphasis the need to support Ukraine’s defences against the full spectrum of malign Russian activity.”

Why has Germany hesitated to provide weapons to Ukraine?

09:25 , Holly Bancroft

Germany’s refusal to join other NATO members in providing weapons to Ukraine has annoyed some allies and raised questions about Berlin’s resolve in standing up to Russia

Germany's stance on arms supplies does “not correspond to the level of our relations and the current security situation," Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Twitter.

Read analysis of Germany’s position from the Associated Press here:

German caution on arms to Ukraine rooted in history, energy

UK defence minister: ‘Russian military associates already in Ukraine’

09:11 , Holly Bancroft

UK armed forces minister, James Heappey, has said that a “significant” number of individuals associated with “Russian military advance-force operations” are already in Ukraine.

Writing in a piece for The Sun newspaper, Mr Heappey said the UK government would “expose” Russian plans where “we see them”.

Russian forces now surround Ukraine from three sides

Could sanctions deter Russia?

08:45 , Thomas Kingsley

Jonathan Fisher QC of Bright Line Law said sanctions against Russia would be “far better than fighting wars or dropping bombs on people.”

“Politically, sanctions are being used as an instrument of foreign policy that has replaced the gunboat,” Mr Fisher said.

“But what difference do they make? It is true that sanctions are a nuisance. If Russia gets banned from access to the capital markets or banking systems, it will be a serious frustration for Putin and will impede the country’s development. Sanctions also have knock-on effects for ordinary members of the public, such as their access to services and goods and general financial wellbeing. Sanctions can also lead to rampant inflation (as we have seen recently in Iran) and all of this can be quite damaging.

“However, sanctions will rarely deliver a decisive blow. They do damage, but there aren’t many cases where they have effected the change in direction that those imposing the sanctions want to achieve. There will always be situations where the world doesn’t act as one, and there are a number of alternatives for Russia. It could, for example, turn to Shanghai and Hong Kong in place of New York and London. Countries will always look to alternatives, and the larger the country, the greater its ability to find those alternatives.

“In summary, sanctions will have an effect - but will they achieve the ultimate objective? That remains to be seen. They rarely deliver a knock-out blow.”

 (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
(Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Delay in creating new cybersecurity board prompts concern

08:30 , Thomas Kingsley

It’s a key part of President Joe Biden’s plans to fight major ransomware attacks and digital espionage campaigns: creating a board of experts that would investigate major incidents to see what went wrong and try to prevent the problems from happening again — much like a transportation safety board does with plane crashes.

But eight months after Biden signed an executive order creating the Cyber Safety Review Board it still hasn’t been set up.

Some supporters of the new board say the delay could hurt national security and comes amid growing concerns of a potential conflict with Russia over Ukraine that could involve nation-state cyberattacks.

Read the full report below:

Delay in creating new cybersecurity board prompts concern

Democrat says Tucker Carlson fans are calling wanting him to side with Russia as it threatens Ukraine

08:15 , Thomas Kingsley

Tucker Carlson is increasingly inspiring Americans to side with Russia in the brewing Ukraine crisis, according to a US Congressman.

“My office is now getting calls from folks who say they watch Tucker Carlson and are upset that we’re not siding with Russia in its threats to invade Ukraine, and who want me to support Russia’s ‘reasonable’ positions,” Tom Malinowski, a Democratic former diplomat and current representative for New Jersey, wrote on Twitter on Monday.

Our reporter, Josh Marcus, has the full story below:

Democrat says Tucker Carlson fans want him to side with Russia over Ukraine

West should stop ‘tip-toeing’ around Putin, says financier

08:00 , Thomas Kingsley

Financier Bill Browder has said the west must stop “tip toeing” around Vladimir Putin and impose sanctions to prevent an invasion of Ukraine.

“All this tip-toeing around him [Putin] shows we’re weak and it will only endanger us further and draw us into an ugly mess with Vladimir Putin,” Mr Browder said.

The Hermitage Capital CEO urged the west to sanction Russian oligarchs to get Putin to “pay attention” and turn around on a possible Ukraine invasion.

 (AP)
(AP)

Explainer: What are US options for sanctions against Putin?

07:45 , Thomas Kingsley

The financial options being considered to punish President Vladimir Putin if Russia invades Ukraine range from the sweeping to the acutely personal — from cutting Russia off from U.S. dollars and international banking to slapping sanctions on a former Olympic gymnast reported to be Putin’s girlfriend.

Publicly, the United States and European allies have promised to hit Russia financially like never before if Putin does roll his military into Ukraine. Leaders have given few hard details to the public, however, arguing it’s best to keep Putin himself guessing.

And weeks into the negotiations, it’s far from clear that Americans have succeeded in achieving U.S. and European consensus on what sanctions will be imposed, and what would trigger them.

Read the full story below:

EXPLAINER: What are US options for sanctions against Putin?

Boris Johnsons says intelligence suggests Russia is planning a ‘lightning war’ on Kyiv

07:33 , Thomas Kingsley

Boris Johnson has said intelligence suggests Russia is planning a lightning raid on Kyiv, as he warned Vladimir Putin that invading Ukraine would be a “painful, violent and bloody business.”

The prime minister called the potential invasion of Ukraine, a “disastrous step,” which could see Russia pulled into a conflict that would lead to casualties on both sides.

Officials said that around half of the staff working in Kyiv will return to the UK.

 (PA Wire)
(PA Wire)

Ukrainian envoy meet UN secretary general to discuss Russian threat

07:21 , Shweta Sharma

Permanent representative of Ukraine to the UN Sergey Kyslytsya met UN secretary general Antonio Guterres in New York to discuss attempts to de-escalate Russia’s attempts to invade Ukraine.

In a statement on Twitter, the Ukraine mission to UN said the meeting was held to “reiterate that any invasion is against int. law & discuss how SG’s good offices could help with de-escalation”.

Mr Kyslytsya also met German envoy Antje Leendertse to discuss Russia’s “aggressive actions”.

“Permanent Representative of @GermanyUN Antje Leendertse to discuss and coordinate response to the aggressive actions of Russia that pose a threat to regional and global security. All members of the #UN are affected,” the statement said.

Democrat says Tucker Carlson inspiring Americans to side with Russia

07:14 , Shweta Sharma

Tucker Carlson is increasingly inspiring Americans to side with Russia in the brewing Ukraine crisis, according to a US Congressman.

“My office is now getting calls from folks who say they watch Tucker Carlson and are upset that we’re not siding with Russia in its threats to invade Ukraine, and who want me to support Russia’s ‘reasonable’ positions,” Tom Malinowski, a Democratic former diplomat and current representative for New Jersey, wrote on Twitter on Monday.

The Indpendent’s Josh Marcus has details.

Democrat says Tucker Carlson fans want him to side with Russia over Ukraine

Russia deploys 20 warships in Baltic Sea for drills amid Ukraine crisis

06:38 , Shweta Sharma

Russia carried out large-scale military exercises in Baltic sea with a total of 20 Russian warships and ships from the Russian Baltic Fleet amid heightened tensions on its border with Ukraine and mounting pressure from the West.

“Twenty combat ships and support vessels of the Baltic Fleet have departed from their permanent bases and deployed to designated areas in the Baltic Sea for accomplishing scheduled combat training measures,” the press office said in a statement on Monday.

The drills that brought together about 10,000 troops carried out anti-submarine, air defense and mine-sweeping tasks, the statement said.

The combat exercise covered seas adjacent to Russian territory in the Baltic Sea, an arm of the Atlantic Ocean, enclosed by Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.

The drills are being held at a time when Moscow is threatening Kyiv by deploying more than 100,000 on its border, demanding that NATO promise it will never allow Ukraine to join and that other actions, such as stationing alliance troops in former Soviet bloc countries, be curtailed.

Russia denied that it will invade Ukraine, but continues to amass troops.

Donald Trump Jr blames Russia-Ukraine crisis on ‘Biden’s weakness’

06:26 , Shweta Sharma

Former president Donald Trump’s eldest son Donald Trump Jr has blamed the ongoing situation between Ukraine and Russia as a “direct result of Biden’s weakness”.

“Everyone knows it. Nobody pulled this nonsense with Trump in the WH. But I have to say, I wish Dems & their media pals cared as much about our southern border as they apparently do about Ukraine’s eastern border,” he said in a tweet.

Mr Trump Jr was making reference to his father’s policies over Mexican border, referring to it as the southern border.

Those who wish to leave embassy in Kyiv can go, says Dutch foreign minister

05:49 , Shweta Sharma

As countries like the UK and US have ordered their staff to leave their country’s embassy in Ukraine, the Netherlands ’ foreign minister said those who wish to leave can go but no evacuation is not planned.

“It’s a huge dilemma when you don’t want to leave too early... But you also don’t want to leave too late so as not to endanger your own people,” Wopke Hoekstra was quoted as saying by Netherlands Broadcasting Foundation (NOS).

He said there is “no reason” for evacuation but the situation is being assessed every hour and the position might change.

Amid heightened fears of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, the US, UK, Germany, and Australia announced plans to order the evacuation of their embassies in Kyiv.

WATCH: Jen Psaki tells Americans in Ukraine ‘they should leave now'

05:20 , Josh Marcus

White House press secretary Jen Psaki had a clear warning for Americans in Ukraine as the crisis there escalates: “leave now.”

While cautioning that American action in the country wouldn’t resemble a full-scale evacuation such as in Afghanistan, Ms Psaki said the White House is still advising US civilians to leave the country.

Watch her comments below.

UK and NATO countries warn Russia of ‘unprecedented sanctions’ over Ukraine

05:12 , Shweta Sharma

Russia has been warned it will be swiftly hit with an “unprecedented package of sanctions” in the event of a fresh incursion in Ukraine after Boris Johnson joined Joe Biden and world leaders to present a united front to combat a feared invasion.

“The intelligence is very clear that there are 60 Russian battle groups on the borders of Ukraine, the plan for a lightning war that could take out Kyiv is one that everybody can see,” Mr Johnson said.

Read the detailed story here:

Russia warned of ‘unprecedented sanctions’ over Ukraine as world leaders talk

The energy angle: UK set to face record-high gas prices if Russia invades Ukraine

04:50 , Josh Marcus

UK households face record-high gas bills if Vladimir Putin orders Russian forces to invades Ukraine, experts have warned.

Analysts fear that Russia, which is currently supplying around 40 per cent of Europe’s gas imports, could turn off the taps if Moscow is hit with sanctions in response to military aggression.

Nato sent reinforcements to eastern Europe on Monday amid growing fears of conflict in Ukraine as Boris Johnson warned that “gloomy” intelligence suggested Russia was planning a lightning raid on Kiev.The Independent’s Ben Chapman has more.

UK set to face record-high gas prices if Russia invades Ukraine

Belarus hacktivists target railway in anti-Russia effort

04:20 , Josh Marcus

A Belarusian hacktivist group says it has launched a limited cyberattack on the national railway company, aimed at impeding the movement of Russian troops and freight inside the Moscow-allied country. It said it encrypted some servers, databases and workstations.

The group, Belarusian Cyber Partisans, said it had disrupted the online sale of tickets in Monday’s attack and was working to fix that as it did not intend to disturb regular passenger service.

Belarusian Railways said its web resources were inaccessible and online ticket sales were halted for unspecified “technical reasons.” State authorities would not comment on the attack.Read the full story here.

Belarus hacktivists target railway in anti-Russia effort

Zoom diplomacy: Biden shares photo of Ukraine chat with EU leaders

03:50 , Josh Marcus

Joe Biden met for an emergency call with European leaders on Monday.

Here’s an image of the conversation below.

Where The Independent stands on war in Ukraine

03:20 , Josh Marcus

The Ukraine crisis has been brewing for years.

In December, The Independent wrote an editorial on what the West could do to deter Vladimir Putin’s designs in the region.

Read the full piece here.

Editorial: If Putin thought he could get away with it, he’d invade Ukraine now

Former Trump official slams ‘disastrous’ presidency’s effect on Ukraine crisis

02:50 , Josh Marcus

Fiona Hill, a former member of the Trump administration National Security Council, has no love lost for her former boss and his handling of Vladimir Putin.

In a scathing op-ed in The New York Times on Monday, Ms Hill said “Donald Trump’s disastrous presidency,” as well as a “muted response” to Russia’s provocations in Ukraine during previous administration, are to blame for bringing the region to a crisis point.

Ultimately, without strong, unified action against Russia, Ms Hill said Putin “has the United States right where he wants it” as he pursues his ultimate goal: “evict the United States from Europe.

Read the former official’s full analysis here.

Huh?: Donald Trump Jr mocked for suggesting the real cause of the Ukraine crisis is Hunter Biden

02:20 , Josh Marcus

Donald Trump Jr is facing a wave of mockery after suggesting that Hunter Biden is somehow responsible for the crisis in Ukraine.

“Will it ultimately be Hunter’s lucrative and shady AF business dealings in Ukraine that gets us into a war with Russia?” Mr Trump tweeted on Monday.

Russia has amassed over 100,000 troops along Ukraine’s borders, sparking fears of an invasion. Hunter Biden, President Joe Biden’s son, once served on the board of a Ukrainian energy company. Mr Trump did not explain how he believed these two facts were connected.Nathan Place has the story for The Independent.

Donald Trump Jr mocked for implying Hunter Biden caused Ukraine crisis

Explainer: Why would Russia invade Ukraine?

01:50 , Josh Marcus

With more than 106,000 Russian troops stationed near the Ukrainian border, fears are growing that president Vladimir Putin will decide to invade.

The threat comes eight years after Russia annexed Crimea and sparked fighting in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine, where a low-level conflict, which has killed more than 14,000 people, is still rumbling on between Kyiv and separatists.

Although the West hopes to alleviate tensions and the risk of war in the region, talks between the Kremlin and Nato have made no ground. And so, as things stand, it is far from clear what will happen next.The Independent’s Rory Sullivan has this breakdown on the basics of the escalating Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Why is Russia threatening Ukraine?

READ: Biden’s big call with European leaders

01:30 , Josh Marcus

Wondering what was on the minds of Joe Biden and the European leaders he conferred with today about Ukraine?

Here’s a link to the full readout of the conversation, courtesy of the White House.

US puts 8,500 troops on alert as Biden ‘refining plans for all scenarios’

01:05 , Josh Marcus

The Pentagon has announced that it placed 8,500 troops on “heightened preparedness” as the White House said it is refining any plans to find a solution to Russia escalating tensions with Ukraine.

Pentagon spokesperson, John Kirby, said the Defense Department continues to support diplomatic efforts to deescalate the situation, amid fears of a Russian invasion of its neighbour. About 125,000 Russian troops have been posted on the border of Ukraine.

“As the president has said, even as we continue to prioritise diplomacy and dialogue, we must also increase readiness,” Mr Kirby said. As such, Mr Kirby said Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin placed a range of units in the United States on a heightened preparedness to deploy, which would increase its readiness if Nato should activate its response force.

The Independent’s Eric Garcia is following the story from Washington DC.

US puts 8,500 troops on alert as Biden ‘refining plans for all scenarios’ in Ukraine

Biden scrambles to defuse Ukraine crisis in first foreign policy test since Afghanistan debacle

00:45 , Josh Marcus

There were three questions for Pentagon spokesman John Kirby and each of them was excellent.

What, asked CNN’s long term defence correspondent Barbara Starr, specific military capabilities would the US troops take with them to Europe, and what specifically was their mission? In addition, how would the US know when that mission was accomplished?

The questions levelled at Kirby came as the Pentagon said it had put 8,500 troops on a state of heightened alert, as pressure mounted on Joe Biden to respond more forcefully to the perceived threat to Ukraine from Russia.

My colleague Andrew Buncombe has this analysis of how the White House is handling the ongoing Ukraine crisis.

Biden scrambles to defuse Ukraine crisis in first major test since Kabul debacle

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