Tuesday, May 24

NATO countries evacuate embassies and step up their presence in Ukraine

A number of NATO countries have sent additional forces to Eastern Europe in recent days, especially in the form of warships and additional fighter jets. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is now asking Norwegians to stay away from Europe’s second largest country.

The Secretary General of NATO welcomes the additional forces.

Denmark, Spain, the Netherlands and France all send soldiers, ships and planes to Eastern European countries and sea areas.

New ships are deployed in the Baltic Sea and the Black Sea, while soldiers and aircraft arrive in Lithuania, Romania and Bulgaria. The United States is also considering sending additional forces to Eastern Europe.

The soldiers and equipment are being sent to meet a force build-up from Russia, which has deployed just over 100,000 soldiers and armored vehicles along the border with Ukraine, despite the Kremlin’s insisting that it is not an invasion.

In addition, Russia is holding several naval exercises, and Ireland protested on Monday against exercises in its economic zone.

Discourages travel to Ukraine

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) now advises against unnecessary travel to Ukraine, reports NTB.

“Due to the tense and unpredictable situation in Ukraine, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs tightens the travel council”, they write in a press release.

“Since 2014, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has advised against all travel to and stays in the counties of Donetsk and Luhansk, as well as on the occupied Crimean peninsula. Now the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is also introducing a travel council that applies to the whole country: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs advises against all travel that is not strictly necessary to Ukraine “, writes the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Ukrainians are now preparing for a Russian military operation in Europe’s second largest country. Here, the Ukrainian Home Guard is training in a park in Kiev on January 22.

They encourage people to make thorough assessments of their own safety and contact the insurance company to ensure that they have valid travel insurance.

“The situation in Ukraine can change at very short notice,” writes the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, asking those who are already in Ukraine to “get an overview of exit opportunities if necessary”.

Diplomats are sent home

Meanwhile, the United States and Britain have ordered the families of embassy staff to leave Ukraine. The UK is also evacuating a number of staff. Both Ukraine and the EU believe it is a hasty move.

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At the same time, both diplomacy and the war of words continue. The Kremlin believes NATO is increasing tensions in the region, and at the same time claims that Ukraine will probably go on the offensive against the rebels in the east of the country. The EU, for its part, condemns Russia and warns of massive sanctions if attacked.

Russian military vehicles move on the Russian-occupied Crimean peninsula in Ukraine.

– The Council condemns Russia’s continued aggressive actions and threats against Ukraine. Talk of “spheres of interest” has no place in the 21st century, it is said in a joint statement from the EU countries ‘foreign ministers’ meeting in Brussels on Monday.

Difficult sanction package

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will attend the meeting on telephone. Blinken will tell about the talks he had on Friday with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

The parties agreed to work to lower the level of tension, although they did not make any breakthroughs.

Antony Blinken and Sergej Lavrov met on January 21, but so far there is no diplomatic solution in sight.

Both the EU and the US want to agree on a sanctions package if Russia escalates the situation further. But it is particularly difficult to reach an agreement within the EU, where the member states have very different relations with Russia. Many are also dependent on Russian oil and gas.

One of the tools that can be used is to exclude Russia from the international payment system Swift, but Germany is skeptical about this.

To assist Ukraine, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Monday promised a new financial assistance package of 1.2 billion euros.

Reference-www.aftenposten.no

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