US President Joe Biden says he will help boost NATO’s presence in eastern Europe to deter Russia from invading Ukraine. American defense officials have warned that Russia has deployed enough forces to invade all of the country – calling Moscow’s troop build-up something not seen since the Cold War.
Near the border with Russia Ukrainian soldiers prepare for the worst. But behind the scenes, a flurry of diplomatic activity races to de-escalate tensions.
Russia insists it is not seeking war. In a press conference on Friday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy also called for calm, saying that panic was causing damage to the economy.
His comments came hours after a phone call between French President Emmanuel Macron and Russian President Vladimir Putin, in which Putin insisted that Western responses had not addressed Moscow’s principal concerns
Yet the call did lead to some progress. The two leaders recommitted to easing tensions through the Normandy format: Four-way diplomatic talks between Germany, Russia, Ukraine and France.
The Ukrainian President welcomed the idea as a step toward calming tensions. But he also called on Russia to prove its claims that it has no intention of invading Ukraine.
For now, tension on the border remains as high as ever. And as long as the risk of military escalation lingers, the diplomatic dance will continue behind closed doors.
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