German Chancellor Olaf Scholz heads to Moscow on Tuesday to meet President Vladimir Putin in a high stakes mission to avert war, saying he will hammer home the message from the West that they are open to dialogue about Russia’s security concerns but will impose sanctions if it invades Ukraine.
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is also due to visit Belgium – where he’ll meet NATO allies – Lithuania and Poland, a day after Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov held out the hope for diplomacy after urging Putin to continue talks.
Amid frantic diplomacy to try and avert conflict in Ukraine, the United States extended a $1 billion sovereign loan guarantee to Ukraine, as the build-up of Russian troops at the country’s borders weighs on its economy.
Here are the latest updates.
India advises citizens to leave Ukraine
The Indian embassy in Ukraine issued an advisory, calling on its nationals, “particularly students whose stay is not essential, to temporarily leave Ukraine amid fears of an imminent war with Russia.
The embassy also advised Indian nationals against travel to and within Ukraine.
Russia to respond if citizens are killed in eastern Ukraine
Russia will “respond” if Russian citizens start being killed anywhere, including in Ukraine’s rebel Donbass region, Russia’s RIA news agency cited Russian envoy to the European Union, Vladimir Chizhov, as saying.
“We will not invade Ukraine unless we are provoked to do that,” Chizhov said. “If the Ukrainians launch an attack against Russia, you shouldn’t be surprised if we counterattack. Or, if they start blatantly killing Russian citizens anywhere – Donbass or wherever.”
Americans advised to leave Belarus immediately
American citizens should leave Belarus immediately due to the buildup of Russian troops along Belarus’ border with Ukraine, said the US State Department
Aviation fears grow over Russia fallout from Ukraine crisis
Airlines and the leasing companies that control billions of dollars worth of passenger jets are drawing up contingency plans for a freeze in business with Russia if the standoff on Ukraine’s border boils over into a military conflict.
Aviation bosses are worried about the impact on dealings with Russian companies. Sanctions could disrupt payments to leasing firms, and any retaliatory move by Moscow to restrict access to Russian airspace might throw east-west trade into chaos.
“We are expecting an asymmetrical Russian response,” said a Western source involved in drawing up scenarios, adding the West was unlikely to restrict its own airspace first.
Scholz flies to Moscow in bid to avert war
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz heads to Moscow to meet President Vladimir Putin in a high stakes mission to avert war, with Russia’s largest trading partner in Europe warning of far-reaching sanctions if it attacks Ukraine.
The chancellor has said he will hammer home the message from the West that they are open to dialogue about Russia’s security concerns but will impose sanctions if it invades Ukraine.
“We are ready for very far-reaching and effective sanctions in coordination with our allies,” he said in Kyiv on Monday before returning to Berlin.
Warnings of sanctions could hit home harder coming from Germany, Russia’s number one trade partner in Europe and the biggest consumer of Russian natural gas – although that could also limit Scholz’s room for manoeuvre.
Japan’s prime minister Fumio Kishida to call Zelenskyy
Japanese media is reporting that Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will speak to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on the phone later.
There’s been no official confirmation of the call, which the media said would take place in the evening Japanese time.
Kishida has that Japan is “watching the situation with grave concern.”
US offers Ukraine $1bn loan guarantee
The United States is offering Ukraine a sovereign loan guarantee of up to $1bn to help its economy amid pressure from Russia’s military buildup.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken says the offer ”will bolster Ukraine’s ability to ensure economic stability, growth, and prosperity for its people in the face of Russia’s destabilizing behaviour”.
The US issued three separate $1 billion sovereign loan guarantees to Ukraine between 2014 and 2016m and has also provided more than $2 billion in development assistance to Ukraine since 2014.
Japan warns of sanctions if Russia attacks
Japan could impose sanctions on Russia if it invades Ukraine.
Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi told a regular press conference that while Japan is “strongly seeking” a diplomatic resolution it would take “appropriate steps, including possible sanctions, in response to what has actually happened, and in coordination with the G7 and international community.”