Tensions continue to mount as fears of a Russian invasion of Ukraine persist globally. US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said during a press conference on Friday that Russian president Vladimir Putin has built up the military presence along the Ukraine border “larger in scale and scope than we have seen in recent memory.”
President Vladimir Putin said the United States and NATO had not addressed Russia’s main security demands in their standoff over Ukraine, but that Moscow was ready to keep talking.
The United States and Germany are increasing their warnings to Moscow that natural gas will not flow through a major new pipeline from Russia to Germany if Russia invades Ukraine.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy criticized the US’s response and said America was damaging his country’s economy by unduly stoking panic that Russia may be planning an invasion.
In Kyiv, Ukrainian President Zelensky has said world leaders’ rhetoric about a possible incursion are “causing ‘panic’ and destabilizing [the economy].” He told foreign reporters on Friday that the Kremlin has been a threat for years and Ukrainians have “learned to live.”
However, Russia’s military buildup near Ukraine has expanded to include supplies of blood along with other medical materials that would allow it to treat casualties, which is a key indicator of Moscow’s military readiness, three US officials told Reuters.