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Ukraine says European push helping avert war


“The situation remains tense but under control. Diplomacy is continuing to lower tensions,” Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told reporters after talks with his Spanish counterpart Jose Manuel Albares.

A Ukrainian Military Forces serviceman gives the thumbs-up as he stands in a snow-covered trench on the frontline with the Russia-backed separatists near Zolote village, in the eastern Lugansk region, on 21 January 2022. Picture: Anatolii STEPANOV/AFP

KYIV – Ukraine said on Wednesday that a European diplomatic push aimed at averting a feared Russian invasion of the ex-Soviet state was working but that the situation remained tense.

“The situation remains tense but under control. Diplomacy is continuing to lower tensions,” Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told reporters after talks with his Spanish counterpart Jose Manuel Albares.

“The way the greater European community responds to this crisis will determine the future of European security and of each individual European state.”

Kuleba’s comments came after French President Emmanuel Macron engaged in a round of shuttle diplomacy between Moscow and Kyiv and then continuing his talks in Berlin.

Macron said he secured a pledge from Russian President Vladimir Putin that the Kremlin “would not be the source of an escalation”.

But Washington warns that Russia’s decision to mass more than 100,000 soldiers near Ukraine’s borders meant that Putin was seriously mulling an invasion aimed at reversing Kyiv’s pro-Western course.

Ukraine has been trying to talk down the prospects of war because of the dire effect on the country’s investment climate and public mood.

But it has also pushed for tough preventative sanctions against Russia aimed at punishing it for its role in the eight-year conflict in Ukraine’s separatist east.

“Without exaggeration, Russia is trying to take revenge for the Soviet Union losing the Cold War, which is why today, we are talking about defending the entire security architecture of Europe,” Kuleba said.

“Ukraine’s position is that in recent years, Russia has been gravely violating international law and the Minsk agreements” on settling the separatist conflict, he said.

“And for this, it should be punished with sanctions.”





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