NEW DELHI :
Over 1,30,000 Russian troops staged outside Ukraine, claim US and UK Russia has denied plans to invade Ukraine
JAMES Heappey, the UK’s Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Armed Forces, said that he believes Europe is closer to war than it has been for 70 years, the BBC reported. “There’s 1,30,000 Russian troops around the borders of Ukraine, thousands more on amphibious shipping in the Black Sea and the Azov Sea,” he told the BBC. “All of the combat enablers are in place and my fear is that if all of this was just about a show to win leverage in diplomacy that doesn’t require the logistics, the fuel, the medical supplies, the bridging assets, the unglamorous stuff that actually makes an invasion force credible, but doesn’t attract headlines. Yet all of that is now in place too.
“That’s why there’s real urgency to the diplomatic negotiations that continue,” he says. But he adds there are still “lots of opportunities” for “compromise” and “diplomacy”. Ukraine is calling for a meeting with Russia and other members of a key European security group as tensions grow. It says Russia has ignored formal requests to explain the build-up of troops, the BBC reported. Russia has denied plans to invade despite massing 100,000 soldiers on Ukraine’s borders. Some nations warn an invasion could be imminent, with the US saying aerial bombardments could begin “at any time”. More than a dozen countries have urged their citizens to leave Ukraine, and some have pulled embassy staff from the capital, the report said.
Over 130,000 Russian troops now staged outside Ukraine, says US: A US official updated the Biden administration’s estimate for how many Russian forces are now staged near Ukraine’s borders to more than 1,30,000, up from the more than 1,00,000 the US has cited publicly in previous weeks. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the administration’s conclusions. Volodymyr Zelensky, President of Ukraine has repeatedly played down the US warnings, questioning the increasingly strident statements from US officials in recent days that Russia could be planning to invade as soon as midweek.