Situation Update: The Ukraine Crisis
Foreign Policy Brief #143 | By: Ibrahim Sultan | February 15, 2022
Header photo taken from: The Telegraph
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Photo taken from: The Independent
Tensions and the threat of war in Europe remain high in the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. On February 10th Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and British Secretary of State Lizz Truss held talks in Moscow to air grievances and attempt to engage in diplomacy. The talks were unfruitful and the exchange between the two foreign ministers was described as “icy”. The Russian Foreign Minister even stated at one point to reporters “I’m honestly disappointed that what we have is a conversation between a mute and a deaf person”.
On the same day, Russia and Belarus (which shares a 1084 mile border with Ukraine) began war games which are scheduled to last for 10 days. Both countries insist that the drills are for training purposes and are not a threat. On February 11th White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan instructed Americans in Ukraine to evacuate within the next 48 hours as the war games have escalated fears of an imminent invasion. The UK, Japan, India, Norway, Estonia, and Latvia have also urged their citizens to leave Ukraine as soon as possible.
On February 12th thousands of Ukrainians marched in the capital Kyiv to present unity against Russian aggression. On February 15th German Chancellor Olaf Scholz headed to Moscow in a high-stakes diplomatic effort to avert war and reiterated that sanctions would be imposed in the event of an invasion. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has called for a “Day of Unity” to take place on February 16th in response to the day some foreign media saw as the possible day of a Russian invasion.
Kyiv released a decree calling for all villages and towns in Ukraine to fly the country’s flags on Wednesday, and for the citizens of the nation to sing the national anthem.
At a meeting with President Vladimir Putin, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov signaled Monday that Russia was ready to continue talking to the West about the grievances that have led to the crisis to avoid a widespread conflict.
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President Biden also spoke directly with Russian President Vladimir Putijn warning that Russia would face severe consequences if it invaded Ukraine. He encouraged Putin to engage in talks with the US and Europe on the future of European security.