Latest Ukraine updates: US says Putin increasing military options

Soldiers practice at the Obuz-Lesnovsky training ground during the Union Courage

Russian President Vladimir Putin is adding more military force and capability near Ukraine’s border with each passing day, Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby has said.

“This is a military that, that continues to grow stronger, continues to grow more ready. They’re exercising, so we believe that he has a lot of capabilities and options available to him should he want to use military force,” Kirby told MSNBC in an interview on Monday.

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“We believe that he has a lot of capabilities and options available to him. Should he want to use military force and as we said, it could happen any day,” he said.

Meanwhile, the United Kingdom’s foreign minister said Russia could invade Ukraine “at any moment”, citing the latest intelligence seen by London.

“Latest information suggests Russia could invade at any moment and we urge the Kremlin to deescalate,” Liz Truss tweeted.

The comments come in the face of spiralling tensions with Moscow, which has massed an estimated 100,000 soldiers and advanced weapons around Ukraine’s borders.

This live blog is now closed, thanks for joining us. Here are the updates for February 14.

Everything in place for massive Russian attack on Ukraine, France says

France’s foreign minister has said that everything was in place for Russian forces to invade quickly in Ukraine, adding that Europe was ready to impose huge sanctions if it happened.

“If the question is are there elements in pace so that there is a major offensive by Russian forces in Ukraine, then yes it’s true. It’s possible and quickly,” Jean-Yves Le Drian told France 5 TV.

He said the assessment was shared by Paris and its allies, although he said nothing indicated that Russian President Vladimir Putin had made that decision.

“It’s blowing hot and cold,” he said, suggesting that Russia was leaving the door open for dialogue.


US defense secretary to visit Belgium, Lithuania, Poland

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will depart tomorrow to visit Belgium, Lithuania and Poland, the Pentagon has said.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said he would meet leaders in each of the countries along with US troops in Poland. In Brussels, Austin will meet with NATO allies.

“The secretary is leaving tomorrow morning for Brussels. We’ll have to see how things play out,” he said.

Kirby added the United States did not believe Russian President Vladimir Putin had made a final decision to invade Ukraine, but that he could move with little or no warning and has continued to add to his capabilities along the countries’ shared border.https://www.youtube.com/embed/gww0zCv5S3I?version=3&rel=1&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&fs=1&hl=en-US&autohide=2&wmode=transparent


Britain says Johnson and Biden see crucial window for diplomacy on Ukraine

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and US President Joe Biden agreed there was a crucial window for diplomacy and a chance for Russia to step back and avert disaster in Ukraine, Johnson’s office has said after a call between the leaders.

“They agreed there remained a crucial window for diplomacy and for Russia to step back from its threats towards Ukraine,” a Downing Street spokesperson said in a statement after the call.

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