Amid weeks of intense tensions with Moscow, the Ukrainian military has announced the death of one of its soldiers in clashes with pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country. It is the first death since a new ceasefire was declared last month, in a conflict that has left more than 13,000 dead since 2014.
The Ukrainian military has blamed separatists for three attacks in the past 24 hours, saying “one soldier was seriously injured.”
Ukraine has been at war since 2014 against pro-Russian separatists who receive financial and military support from Moscow, according to Kiev and Westerners.
On December 22, the warring parties agreed to re-establish a ceasefire the next day before blaming each other for further violations.
All previous attempts to stop the war had failed.
Relations between Ukraine and Russia, which have already been very tense in recent years, are currently experiencing heights of tension.
Ukraine also announced today that a new rule will come into force preventing ships traveling under the Russian flag from entering its inland waters.
Russia’s flag-flying ships’ are banned from entering Ukraine’s inland waters, according to the text of the Inland Waterway Act.
The ban also applies to vessels owned by Russian citizens or “registered economic agents in Russia” or natural or legal persons subject to special sanctions or other regulatory measures (sanctions) under Ukrainian law. The official Russian news agency reported. Sputnik.
Talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Joe Biden took place on Thursday. Biden has threatened to impose “unprecedented” sanctions in the event of a fictitious attack, which the Kremlin has denied.
President of the United States Joe Biden will speak by phone with his Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Zhelensky on Sunday, warning his Russian envoy Vladimir Putin this week that he will take action if he invades the country. “I have made it clear to President Putin that if Russia invades Ukraine, we will accept tough sanctions and increase our presence in Europe with NATO allies,” Biden said.
“We are clear: you can not, I repeat, you can not occupy Ukraine,” he told reporters outside a restaurant in Wilmington, where he spends his annual celebrations with his family.
For his part, the Russian president called the new sanctions against Moscow “a big mistake.”
After this 50-minute conversation, the two praised the diplomatic channel for a second time in a month, as a way out of the crisis.
Sunday, Biden will reiterate his support for Ukraine’s independence and US unity in the region, “a presidential official said.
Biden will “talk about placing Russian troops on Ukraine’s borders and review preparations for the next diplomatic meetings aimed at easing tensions in the region,” he said.
Meanwhile, Zhelensky said in a tweet that he was patient to discuss with the US President “ways to coordinate our efforts for peace in Ukraine and the security of Europe.”
Secretary of State Anthony Blingen announced last Friday that he had a telephone conversation with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.
In a tweet, the US diplomat called on Russia to “actively participate” in the talks to allow expansion. Ukraine and its Western allies accuse it of amassing tens of thousands of troops on the border with Moscow for a possible invasion.
Stoltenberg tweeted on his page that NATO was “united” and “ready to talk.”
The United States and Russia will hold bilateral talks in Geneva on January 10-11. They will be led by US Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman and her Russian counterpart Sergei Rybkov. The Russia-NATO meeting will take place on January 12, followed by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) structure on January 13.
With information from AFP and Europa Press