U.S. senators are close to reaching an agreement on legislation sanctioning Russia for its actions against Ukraine, including some measures that could take effect before any invasion, two leading senators said on Sunday.
Senators Bob Menendez and James Risch, chairman and top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said they hoped to move the bill forward this week.
Meanwhile, the UK government will introduce new legislation this week to broaden the scope of sanctions it can apply to Russia in a bid to deter aggression against Ukraine, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said.
“Any company of interest to the Kremlin and the regime in Russia could be targeted, so there will be nowhere to hide for Putin’s oligarchs, for Russian companies involved in supporting the Russian state,” she said on Sunday.
Tensions have skyrocketed as Russia has deployed tens of thousands of troops near the Ukrainian border.
Russia said on Sunday it wanted “mutually respectful” relations with the United States and denied posing a threat to Ukraine, but accused NATO of wanting to “drag” Ukraine into the alliance. The NATO chief said the alliance does not plan to deploy combat troops to Ukraine in the event of a Russian invasion.
Here are the latest updates:
United States: Russia will face pressure at the UN on the Ukrainian crisis
The US ambassador to the United Nations has promised that the UN Security Council will put pressure on Russia in a session on Monday to discuss Moscow’s troop build-up near Ukraine and growing fears that it plans an invasion.
“Our voices are united in calling on the Russians to explain themselves,” Ambassador Linda Thomas Greenfield said of the United States and the other council members on ABC’s “This Week” program on Sunday.
“We walk into the room ready to listen to them, but we’re not going to be distracted by their propaganda.”
Kyiv Rally participants thank US and West for support
Protesters gathered in Kiev to show their appreciation for Western support in the face of the potential threat of an imminent conflict with Russia.
Members of the crowd held signs praising the United States and the United Kingdom, which, along with other NATO members, have begun providing additional military aid and resources to the country.
Rally participant Valentin Zverkhanovsky told The Associated Press he was grateful to US President Joe Biden for his support and to everyone who supports Ukraine.
He explained that “forty million Ukrainians have hope” for Biden’s “really strong attitude and strong international policy”.
Canada’s Defense Minister arrives in Kyiv
Canadian Defense Minister Anita Anand has arrived in the Ukrainian capital for talks with her Ukrainian counterpart, Minister Oleksandr Polishchyuk.
The meeting was broadcast by the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense TV channel, Military TV UA.
The government of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently announced a military training mission to Ukraine and the provision of military aid mainly in the form of body armor, binoculars and medical kits.
US Senate close to agreement on legislation to sanction Russia
Top US Senate leaders said they were close to reaching a bipartisan agreement on a sanctions bill that would “crush” Russia’s economy if it sends troops to Ukraine.
Senators Bob Menendez, Democratic chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, and James Risch said it was crucial that the United States send a clear message to Russian President Vladimir Putin that such aggression is unacceptable.
“I would describe it as if we were on the one-yard line,” Menendez said on CNN’s “State of the Union,” using an American football reference meaning very close to the goal.
There is a strong bipartisan will to support Ukraine and punish Russia if it invades Ukraine, said Menendez, who appeared with Sen. James Risch, the Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee. When asked if a deal would be reached this week, he replied: “I believe we will get there.”
Basic military training for Kiev volunteers
Members of Ukraine’s far-right Azov movement and the National Corps held military training for volunteers in Kyiv to teach them self-defense in the event of an attack from Russia.
Training under the slogan “Don’t panic, get ready!” took place on the outskirts of Kiev where hundreds of volunteers had turned up.
The training involved tactical maneuvers, as well as basic instructions on how to hold a weapon.
Azov Battalion Chief Maxim Zhorin told The Associated Press that the group was holding training because of the “completely ineffective actions” of the Ukrainian government.
Russia introduces new fighters to Kaliningrad
Amid tensions with Ukraine and NATO, Russia has launched military exercises on several fronts, the latest being in the Kaliningrad region.
Russian state television showed the country’s new Sukhoi SU-30SM2 fighter jets deployed in the region.
According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the new general-purpose fighters have more modern engines and radars than previous SU-30 models, and could also support an expanded arsenal of air-to-air and surface-to-air weapons.
Speaking to Russian media, Oleg Shevchenko, the head of the air base’s flight safety department, said the true potential of these fighter jets was yet “to be discovered”.
NATO calls on Europe to diversify its energy supply
Europe must diversify its energy supplies, said the NATO chief.
The European Union depends on Russia for around a third of its gas supplies and any interruption would worsen an existing energy crisis caused by a shortage.
“We are concerned about the energy situation in Europe as it demonstrates the vulnerability of being too dependent on a single supplier of natural gas and that is why NATO allies agree that we need to work and focus on supply diversification,” said the NATO Secretary General. says Jens Stoltenburg.
Russian Lavrov: NATO wants to “draw” Ukraine into the alliance
The Russian Foreign Minister said that NATO wants to bring Ukraine into the alliance.
Russia has long resented NATO granting membership to countries that were once part of the Soviet Union or were within its sphere of influence as members of the Warsaw Pact.
“[NATO] has already moved closer to Ukraine. They also want to lead this country there,” Lavrov said. “Although everyone understands that Ukraine is not ready and cannot make any contribution to strengthening NATO security.”
Ukraine has sought NATO membership for years, but any prospect of membership seems remote as the country struggles to find political stability and tackle corruption.
British troops highly unlikely to fight in Ukraine: Truss
It is very unlikely that British soldiers will be sent to fight alongside Ukrainian troops in the event of a Russian invasion, the British foreign secretary has said.
Liz Truss also told the BBC it was “very likely” Russia was looking to invade Ukraine.
Asked if there was a scenario where British troops could be sent to fight in Ukraine, Truss said: ‘It’s highly unlikely. This is to ensure that the Ukrainian forces receive all the support we can give them.
Russia wants ‘mutually respectful’ relations with the United States
Russia has said it wants “mutually respectful” relations with the United States and has denied posing a threat to Ukraine.
“We want good, equal and mutually respectful relations with the United States, as with all countries in the world,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told Russian television on Sunday.
He added, however, that Russia does not want to remain in a position “where our security is violated daily”.
Lavrov said NATO’s line of defense “continues to move eastward” and has come “very close” to Ukraine, which he says is “not ready” to join. NATO.
UK prepares new Russia sanctions law to leave ‘nowhere to hide’
The UK will unveil new sanctions legislation next week to hit ‘a much wider variety’ of Russian economic objectives as part of efforts to deter Moscow from invading Ukraine, the business secretary says foreign Liz Truss.
Britain’s Foreign Minister said the bill would expand the country’s sanctions toolbox so that “any company of interest to the Kremlin and the regime in Russia” could be targeted.
“There will be nowhere for Putin’s oligarchs to hide,” Truss told Sky News.
NATO chief says there are no plans to send combat troops to Ukraine
NATO does not intend to deploy combat troops to non-NATO Ukraine in the event of a Russian invasion, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has said.
“We have no plans to deploy NATO combat troops to Ukraine…we are focused on support,” Stoltenberg told the BBC.
“There is a difference between being a member of NATO and being a strong and highly valued partner of Ukraine. There is no doubt about it.