Russia could invade Ukraine at any moment as per the latest information, the United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said on Monday.
The official made the statement amid reports that Russia is sending thousands of more troops to the border with Ukraine.
The foreign secretary urged the Russian government to de-escalate the situation and engage in meaningful talks. Earlier, she chaired a meeting of the Cabinet Office Briefing Rooms to discuss the matter.
“We are doing everything possible to prevent a Russian invasion of Ukraine, while also preparing for the worst,” Truss said.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Pentagon in the United States said on Monday that Russian President Vladimir Putin has added more force and capabilities along the country’s border with Ukraine, according to MSNBC.
“We believe that he [Putin] has a lot of capabilities and options available to him,” John Kirby said. “Should he want to use military force…it could happen any day. In fact, I would go so far as to say that he could move with little to no warning.”
Since early this year, Russia has amassed close to 1.3 lakh troops at the Ukrainian border. The two countries have been engaged in a conflict since 2014, when Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula and backed separatist rebellions in the country’s eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.
However, Russia has consistently denied allegations that it would invade Ukraine.
On Monday, United States President Joe Biden and the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke about the situation in Ukraine during a phone conversation. The two leaders agreed that there remains a “crucial window for diplomacy and for Russia to step back from its threats towards Ukraine”, according to a statement from Johnson’s office.
“The leaders emphasised that any further incursion into Ukraine would result in a protracted crisis for Russia, with far reaching damage for both Russia and the world,” the statement noted.
Biden and Johnson urged Western allies to stay united in the face of “Russian threats”, and underlined the need for European countries to reduce their dependence on Russian gas. They said that such a move, more than anything else, “would strike at the heart of Russia’s strategic interests”.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky declared February 16 as a “day of unity” and lauded the strength of the country’s military, the BBC reported. February 16 is the date that officials in the United States have cited as one on which Russia may attack Ukraine.
“We have something to respond with,” Zelensky said. “We have a great army… this is an army many times stronger than eight years ago.”
The Ukrainian president, however, said that he wanted to resolve all disputes through negotiations and diplomacy.