The UN Security Council is scheduled to meet for the first time on the deployment of Russian troops near Ukraine at the request of the United States, and all key players are expected to face public confrontation over the possibility of a Russian invasion.
Monday’s meeting in New York comes days after heightened Western warnings that Moscow could attack Ukraine this month.
Moscow’s refusals and pleas by the Ukrainian president not to panic failed to allay growing fears.
Kiev’s Western allies – including the United States and the European Union – have repeatedly threatened to impose large-scale economic sanctions on Russia if it deploys its army in Ukraine.
Moscow, meanwhile, has asked NATO to limit its activities in Eastern Europe and never allow Ukraine to become a member.
Here are all the latest updates:
The Kremlin says no US-NATO response date has been set
Russian President Vladimir Putin will respond to counter-proposals from the United States and NATO “when he deems it necessary,” no date yet, the Kremlin said.
Washington and Brussels responded last week to Moscow’s demands for legally binding security guarantees issued in December. Putin said on Friday that the answers were not aimed at Moscow’s main security demands, but that Russia was ready to continue talking.
Johnson to tell Putin to step back
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he will tell Putin to “step back” on Ukraine when the two leaders speak this week.
“What I will say to President Putin, as I said, is that I really think we all need to step back, and I think Russia needs to step back,” Johnson told reporters.
The Kremlin has criticized threats of UK sanctions
The Kremlin says the UK’s threats to impose sanctions on Russian companies and businessmen linked to Putin are alarming and warns that such actions would backfire, hurting British companies.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the proposed action was an attack on Russian business, undermining Britain’s investment climate and fueling tensions in Europe.
Russia will respond to any such action in a way that is based on its interests, he told a briefing.
Ukrainian police detain suspected rioters
Ukrainian police have detained a group of people suspected of plotting riots in Kiev and other cities, the country’s interior minister said.
Interior Minister Denis Monastirski told a television briefing that the arrests were made on Sunday. He said about 5,000 people had been involved in riots and clashes with police in five cities in northern and central Ukraine.
“This action, which was planned in advance, was initially aimed at violence and riots and had nothing to do with peaceful protests,” Monastirski said. “It was intended to shake and destabilize the situation in Ukraine.
Monastirski did not say how many people were detained and who was behind the planned riots.
The UN Security Council and its role in the Ukrainian crisis
- The United States has described the meeting of the UN Security Council, which Washington requested, as a chance for Russia to explain itself.
- But Moscow has signaled it could try to block the 15-nation body’s meeting. It takes nine votes to continue.
- Apart from the members having the opportunity to express their views openly, the Council will not take any action – even if Russia invades Ukraine. A simple statement needs consensual support, and Russia can veto any offer of a resolution.
- Russia is one of the five permanent veto powers in the council, along with China, France, the United Kingdom and the United States.
- Russia takes over the rotating presidency of the Council in February on Tuesday. To a large extent, the administrative role involves scheduling meetings, so some diplomats warn that Moscow may delay future attempts by council members to seek discussions on the crisis.
The Russian fleet has completed exercises against submarines
Russia’s Northern Fleet ships have completed anti-submarine exercises in the Norwegian Sea, the Russian Defense Ministry said.
The ministry said in a statement that a Russian missile cruiser and frigate, aided by a specially equipped helicopter, had practiced various ways to locate submarines during the maneuvers.
The exercises were part of a broader naval exercise involving more than 140 ships from the entire Russian fleet in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and in the North, Okhotsk and Mediterranean Seas.
The United Kingdom threatens sanctions on those who are “closest ties to the Kremlin”
The United Kingdom will sanction businesses and people with close ties to Putin if Moscow takes any action against Ukraine, said Chief Finance Minister Simon Clark.
“We are very clear that if Russia takes further action against Ukraine, then we will further tighten the sanctions regime targeted at these businesses and people with close ties to the Kremlin,” Clark told Britain’s Sky News.
After the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, London became the world’s leading center for a huge outflow of money from the former Soviet republics.
The ruble is heading for a one-week high against the dollar
The roll is tightening and approaching a one-week high against the dollar after Moscow indicated last week that it was ready to continue dialogue with the West on Ukraine.
At 07:30 GMT the ruble was 0.4% stronger against the dollar at 77.46. Last week, it fell to an almost 15-month low of 80.4125.
The currency rose 0.2 percent to trade at 86.45 against the euro.