Pro-Russian ally in the Ukrainian government? The UK thinks so

Pro-Russian ally in the Ukrainian government? The UK thinks so
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in Kyiv, Ukraine January 19, 2022. Alex Brandon/Pool via REUTERS

The backstory:

  • This has many experts worried that Russia could be looking to invade Ukraine – eight years after the Russian invasion and annexation of Crimea. But, Russia denies this and has sent demands to the West, making some think that the troops are there to force Western officials to take Russia seriously.
  • One of Russia’s demands is that Ukraine (a former Soviet state) be banned from entering The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) – an international military alliance. However, NATO has an open-door policy, and banning Ukraine goes against this.
  • Western intelligence has said that an invasion can happen early this year and has threatened Russia with severe economic sanctions if they invade.
  • Last week, the United Kingdom was told to get ready to get into “crisis mode," while United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken went to visit Ukrainian officials last week. He spoke with NATO foreign ministers and said that an invasion could happen on very short notice.
  • The Ukrainian ambassador to the UK said that his country was “prepared to fight" but wasn’t “that well equipped" for a long fight with Russia.

The development:

  • On the BBC’s “Sunday Morning” program, Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab spoke on the situation and, among other things, said that Russia “needs to live up to the basic tenets of international law, and invading another country is not one of those."
  • A US shipment of around 90 tons of “lethal aid" arrived in Ukraine on Saturday. The shipment also included ammunition for “front line defenders."
  • But, something also worrying many people is the suspicion that Russia may be trying to plant a pro-Russian leader in Ukraine. This is something that Ukraine’s ambassador to the UK, Vadym Prystaiko, has warned, saying that it wouldn’t be the first time Russia has tried to do so.
  • Some of the presidential candidates in Ukraine, for example, fled to Moscow eight years ago.
  • It’s also something that the US and UK have warned about. In a statement, UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said, “The information being released today shines a light on the extent of Russian activity designed to subvert Ukraine, and is an insight into Kremlin thinking. Russia must de-escalate, end its campaigns of aggression and disinformation, and pursue a path of diplomacy."
  • But the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs tweeted that the Foreign Office was “circulating disinformation" and said that it should “cease these provocative activities" and “stop spreading nonsense."

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