Russian and Belarusian troops continue to flex their muscles near the border with Ukraine. The joint military maneuvers were supposed to end on Sunday, but Moscow and Minsk have extended them. The reason is the "deterioration of the situation in eastern Ukraine".
150,000 Russian soldiers at the border
NATO reacted "concerned" and fears of a possible large-scale Russian attack on Ukraine are growing.
Most recently, US media, citing intelligence information, reported that 40 to 50 percent of the more than 150,000 Russian soldiers on the Ukrainian border had gone into battle formation and were ready to attack at any time.
Biden and Putin agree to summit
A crisis meeting should prevent this horror scenario. US President Joe Biden and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin agreed to a joint summit that night. Condition to Russia: Before that there must be no invasion of Ukraine.
French President Emmanuel Macron mediated – in hours of telephone conversations with Biden and Putin. It was also about the tensions in eastern Ukraine. Macron blames the Russian separatists, Moscow accuses Ukraine of being responsible for the escalation.
A Kremlin statement said: "Given the current situation in eastern Ukraine, the two presidents considered it useful to intensify the search for a diplomatic solution between the foreign ministers and political advisers to the heads of state of the Normandy format countries."
The aim is for the ceasefire to be observed again in eastern Ukraine and for progress to be made in resolving the conflict.
OSCE: 1,500 ceasefire violations
Along the front line in Donbass, Ukrainian government forces and Russian-backed rebels continue to accuse each other of fueling the conflict.
The OSCE again reported over 1,500 ceasefire violations and called a special session today. In Brussels, the foreign ministers of the EU countries are also advising on how to proceed.
Meanwhile, the pro-Russian separatists continue to evacuate dozens of civilians from the conflict zone – on trains bound for Russia.