French President Emmanuel Macron is due to speak with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin Friday about the rising tensions in Ukraine after Moscow deployed thousands of soldiers around the border and pressed on with demands for a redrawing of post-Cold War security arrangements in Europe. Russia insisted Friday it does not want war with Ukraine, but that it won’t allow its interests to be ignored. Follow our live coverage below.
11:52 Paris Time: Lithuania and Germany in talks on more troops in Lithuania
Lithuania and Germany are in talks to increase German military presence in Lithuania “in light of current events”, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda said on Friday.
“We are talking about possibilities to expand, increase the German and the Enhanced Forward Presence forces in Lithuania, as we need to strengthen the eastern flank of NATO in light of the current events.”
11:35 Paris time: Russian military build-up would allow an invasion ‘with little warning’
U.S. Ambassador to Moscow John Sullivan told an online briefing that the size of the Russian military build-up on Ukraine’s borders would allow an invasion with little warning.
He also warned that economic sanctions on Russia would be just one part of the West’s response if the Russian military were to invade Ukraine. Other measures would include export controls and greater defence of allies in Europe and prevent the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline from Russia to Germany from operating.
11:40 Paris time: Macron to speak with Putin
French President Emmanuel Macron was due to speak by phone with Putin on Friday.
“It is up to Vladimir Putin to say if he wants consultations or confrontation,” French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told RTL radio, asking whether the Russian leader wanted to be a “destabilising power” or would seek de-escalation.
9:30 Paris time: ‘War only possible if Belarus or Russia are attacked,’ says Lukashenko
In a speech in parliament this morning, Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko said his country has no interest in war, and that a conflict would only break out if his country, or its close ally Russia were attacked directly.
The West is currently on edge as Minsk and Moscow plan to hold joint military drills in Belarus, which flanks Ukraine’s northern border. Russia has already deployed thousands of soldiers along Ukraine’s eastern border.
9:20 Paris time: Russia says Moscow ‘does not want war with Ukraine’
“If it depends on Russia, then there will be no war. We don’t want wars. But we also won’t allow our interests to be rudely trampled, to be ignored,” Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told Russian radio stations in a Friday interview.