Independent – US president Joe Biden has blamed Russian-backed separatists for an “uptick” in violence as part of a plan to create a “pretext” for an invasion of Ukraine.
“We are calling out Russia’s plans loudly and repeatedly … because we’re doing everything in our power to remove any reason that Russia may give to justify invading Ukraine,” he said, though he added later he is “convinced” Vladimir Putin’s forces will launch an invasion “within days” beginning with an attack on the Ukrainian capital of Kiev.
Mr Biden also blasted Russian state media allegations of attacks in eastern Ukraine, calling the reports “phony” and that they were “consistent” with Russian schemes for a false flag operation to “bait” Ukraine into war.
Amid fears of an imminent incursion, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) announced on Friday that the British embassy in Kiev will be “temporarily” relocated to the west of Ukraine. “Staff are operating from the British embassy office in Lviv,” a statement posted on gov.uk and social media said.
Sirens sound in Donetsk after separatist leader announced the evacuation of civilians to Russia.
Yahoo!news, – Russian-backed “separatist” authorities in eastern Ukraine said on Friday they planned to evacuate residents across the border, as tensions continue to rise in the region.
Sirens sounded across the city of Donetsk and other parts of the self-proclaimed People’s Republic, urging locals to leave immediately.
The move to evacuate people follows an increase in shelling in the Donbass region over the last few days.
Separatists later claimed that a car had been blown up near their government building in the centre of Donetsk. Reports say nobody was hurt in the incident.
Russia expels deputy chief of U.S. embassy in Moscow
Feb. 17 (UPI) — The State Department confirmed Thursday that Russia expelled Bart Gorman, the deputy chief of the mission at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.
Gorman and his family left Moscow on Feb. 10, but the reason has not been made public, according to the website Diplopundit. Gorman served as the chargé d’affaires at the Russian embassy after the departure of Ambassador Jon Huntsman from 2017 to 2019. He served as deputy when John Sullivan took the lead post in January 2020. Advertisement
“Russia’s action against our DCM was unprovoked and we consider this an escalatory step and are considering our response,” a spokesperson for the U.S. State Department said, according to Radio Free Europe/RadioLiberty.
The move comes as the United States and NATO continued their criticism of the Kremlin for amassing more than 130,000 troops along the Russian-Ukrainian border, calling it a pretext to an invasion of the country.
Russia has repeatedly rejected and even mocked U.S. officials sounding the alarm about a possible invasion of Ukraine.
Two large explosion in Luhansk, eastern Ukraine.
RT -Two explosions rocked the city of Lugansk in eastern Ukraine late on Friday, a Sputnik news agency correspondent has reported. Local media have also confirmed that the first blast affected a pipeline in the area, resulting in a major fire. The second one reportedly took place at a gas station.
The reports of explosions come just hours after the neighboring city of Donetsk was rocked by another blast. It was caused by a car bomb, which targeted a vehicle belonging to the head of the people’s militia of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, and did not result in any casualties…more
Russian Foreign Ministry website goes offline
MOSCOW — The website of Russia’s foreign ministry went down on Thursday, a ministry official told Reuters, the same day that Russia submitted its response to Western security proposals.
The TASS news agency cited the ministry as saying that the website had been down for an hour due to technical issues. The official did not say why the site was down. (Reporting by Tatiana Ustinova; Writing by Alexander Marrow Editing by Andrew Osborn)
British embassy in Ukraine moved out of Kiev as invasion fears mount
The Foreign Office is also advising people not to travel to Belarus or an area of Moldova that neighbours Ukraine
Independent – The British embassy in Kyiv has been “temporarily” relocated as international anxiety about a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine continues to fester.
The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) has announced that UK officials will “temporarily” relocate from the Ukraine capital to Lviv in the west of the country.
The Crisis in Ukraine is not about Ukraine It’s About Germany – Corbet Report
This week on the New World Next Week: Canada invokes the Emergencies Act to go after crowdfunding; the IRS scraps facial recognition on tax returns (for now); and the Ukraine crisis is really about Germany.
Ukraine and the Battle for the EU – New World Next Week Forward 16 minutes