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UK Foreign, Defense Secretaries to visit Ukraine next week

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson

London, January 31: In response to Russia’s escalation on the Ukrainian border, UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and Defense Secretary Ben Wallace will visit Ukraine next week and a debate will be held in the UN Security Council on Monday.

As US, UK and European Union and Jens Stoltenberg, head of the NATO military alliance are trying hard to find a political, diplomatic solution to prevent a new armed conflict in Europe.

The entire crisis erupted after the amassing of 100,000 Russian soldiers on the border with Ukraine and in annexed Crimea in recent weeks has stoked fears in Kyiv and the West that the Kremlin may invade Ukraine which chose to break away from Moscow’s political influence.

“Looking forward to visiting Ukraine this week to support,” Truss wrote on Twitter in response to a post by her Ukrainian counterpart, Dmytro Kuleba, thanking her for the “resolute stance” on Russia.

The UK Prime Minister’s press service reported that Truss and Defense Secretary Ben Wallace will travel to Moscow for talks in the coming days.

The U.S. and the European Union are zeroing in on a package of sanctions against Russia if President Vladimir Putin invade Ukraine while UK is mulling ways to target oligarch wealth in the London property market, according to its foreign secretary.

“I will be moving US troops to Eastern Europe in NATO countries in the near term,” Joe Biden told reporters.

As many as 8,500 US troops had been placed on heightened alert earlier this week to prepare to deploy to Eastern Europe — including units with “medical support, aviation support, logistical support” and “combat formation,” according to a Pentagon spokesman.

Biden’s comments come hours after the top US military general, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, warned a Russian invasion of Ukraine would be “horrific” for the country and would result in “significant” casualties as he urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to choose a diplomatic path instead.

he European Union will stick to its “twin tracks of diplomacy and deterrence” and expand support to Ukraine in all areas, the bloc’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said in a blog post.“Russia is waging a war of nerves — so we have to keep ours,” he wrote. “In this stand-off with Russia, we are doing our best to make diplomacy work, using all possible paths.”

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Moscow wanted “mutually respectful” relations with Washington.

“We want good, equal, mutually respectful relations with the United States, like with every country in the world,” Lavrov told Russia’s Channel One. “Learning from bitter experience, we do not want to remain in a position where our security is infringed daily.”

After Ukraine’s 2014 Revolution of Dignity that toppled pro-Moscow Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych, Putin annexed Crimea and openly backed separatists in the southeastern provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk.

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