On Sunday, the Russian military extended its drills in Belarus, along the Ukrainian northern border, after two days of continuous shelling in eastern Ukraine between Ukrainian forces and Russian separatists. However, they were due to finalize drills on past Sunday, the defense ministry of Belarus announced. Moscow has been running combined military drills with Belarus involving around thirty thousand troops, equipped with advanced missile systems since 10th February.
On Sunday, the Russian government extended its armed drills in Belarus, nearby the northern border with Ukraine, after two days of constant shelling in eastern Ukraine between the Ukrainian military and Russian separatists. pic.twitter.com/pATQTBvUoJ
— Live News Now (@LiveNewsNow6) February 21, 2022
However, the United States officials believe that Russian President Vladimir Putin could use the military exercises as a cover to invade Ukraine from the north. The United States Department of Defense (DOD) said Russia extended the drills amid the armed activity near the Belarus and Russia borders, along with the current situation in eastern Ukraine. It observed extended shelling between Russian-backed separatists and Ukrainian forces in recent days.
Moreover, the presence of troops to the north of Ukraine fueled fears that they could be used to invade the Kyiv capital, just a three-hour drive apart from the border. Sunday scheduled military exercises with Belarusian forces extended as the Russian president’s show of force beside the Ukrainian border with the deployment of around one hundred fifty thousand armed troops, along with naval drills in the Black Sea.
Biden Convinced, Putin Plans Invade Ukraine
On Friday, Joe Biden, the United States President, said that he was convinced that President Putin plans to attack Ukraine. Biden met with the White House National Security Council (NSC) to discuss the latest progress. Instead, White House officials still have not released details of a two-hour discussion with the president. Antony Blinken, the Secretary of State, told “State of the Union” show of CNN that the instant surge in Russian troop deployments in recent weeks, cyberattacks on significant backs, and the Ukrainian defense ministry last week suggest that Russia is following its playbook before the warfare at large-scale.
The Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine claimed that Kyiv military forces planned an invasion there, while Ukraine denies those accusations. Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, questioned at the Munich Security Conference why the U.S. and Western allies, who pledged to slap swift and harsh economic consequences on Russia if it attacks Ukraine, are not already doing so.
Russian and U.S. Presidents to Hold Dialogs
Blinken added that until tanks are moving along with the launching of missiles, leaders of Western countries will try to do everything to change the mind of the Russian leader to reverse his decision to invade. The top United States said that he would meet his Russian counterpart in Europe on Thursday for more diplomatic talks on the condition that Russia has not launched an attack before then.
Late Sunday, Presidents of Russia and the United States agreed, in principle, to hold talks over the current Ukrainian crisis if Russia doesn’t attack Ukraine, according to the statement from the White House. In the statement, press secretary Jen Psaki said that the U.S. is always ready for negotiations. However, she added that the Biden government is ready to slap severe and swift sanctions if Moscow chooses war.