Russia-Ukraine: Live updates from Russia as the fighting escalates in Ukraine’s eastern region

Saturday saw an increase in violence and preparations for war as Russian-backed separatists increased their presence in Ukraine’s troubled east.

Vice President Harris warned that there would be severe sanctions for Russia and its allies if it invades. In the meantime, Volodymyr Zelensky (Ukraine President) accused leaders around the world of complicity with Russia and called for stronger support.

The rush to find a diplomatic solution came after President Biden said Friday that his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, has “made the decision” to strike Ukraine, warning of Kremlin-orchestrated false-flag operations in the coming days as pretexts for an attack. Jen Psaki, White House Press Secretary, stated that Biden will meet the National Security Council Sunday night to discuss Ukraine.

Fighting between Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian militants intensified, meanwhile, with Ukrainian military officials reporting a tenfold increase in shelling by pro-Russian militants in the area.

Here’s what to know

  • Belarusian military officials said Russian troops deployed to the country for joint drills may stay there past the official end of the exercise Sunday. Their presence has increased fears about the Russian military surrounding Ukraine from a number of strategic positions.
  • U.S. On Saturday, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin stated that Russian forces had advanced almost all the capabilities necessary to invade Ukraine. However, he added that there were ways to prevent a bloody conflict. Meanwhile, artillery fire, including from mortars and grenades, pounded a border town in Ukraine’s east.
  • President Vladimir Putin oversaw a major military exercise Saturday of Russia’s nuclear forces, involving the launch of hypersonic missiles. The exercises are taking place as the United States asserts that Russia probably has massed as many as 190,000 troops in and around Ukraine, or nearly double the 100,000 estimated in late January.

UNDERSTANDING THE RUSSIA-UKRAINE CRISIS

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