Russia says it will withdraw troops as tensions rise in Ukraine

  • President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that Russia was ready to talk with the United States and NATO on security issues.
  • President Joe Biden will address the nation on the Russia-Ukraine situation at 3:30 p.m.
  • Ukrainian websites suffered a cyberattack on Tuesday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow was ready for talks with the United States and NATO on limits on missile deployments and military transparency, a second signal on Tuesday of a potential easing of tensions in the conflict between Russia and the West over Ukraine.

Hours earlier, Russia announced it would send troops home from military exercises, raising fears of an invasion of Ukraine.

President Joe Biden will address developments from the White House on Tuesday afternoon.

Speaking after talks with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Putin said that while the US and NATO have rejected Moscow’s demand to keep Ukraine and other ex-Soviet countries out of NATO , to halt deployments of weapons near Russian borders and to roll back alliance forces from Eastern Europe, they agreed to discuss some security measures already suggested by Russia.

Putin said Russia was ready to engage in talks on limiting the deployment of intermediate-range missiles in Europe, transparency of exercises and other confidence-building measures, but stressed the need for the West to take into account the main demands of Russia.

Russia-Ukraine explained:Inside the crisis as the United States, allies wait for the next move

Blinken to Lavrov: US needs ‘verifiable, credible and meaningful de-escalation’

The United States needs to see “a verifiable, credible and meaningful de-escalation” of Russian action toward Ukraine, Secretary of State Antony Blinken told Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Tuesday during a call. .

Blinken also said he was still awaiting Russia’s written response to last month’s U.S.-NATO proposal for “concrete areas of discussion,” according to the State Department spokesperson, Ned Price.

Blinken noted that Lavrov said a response “will be forthcoming in the coming days,” according to Price.

Price also said Blinken stressed that the United States was still seeking a diplomatic solution to “the crisis that Moscow precipitated” but remained concerned that Russia had the ability to launch an invasion of Ukraine at any time. moment.

Blinken told Lavrov that new Russian aggression against Ukraine will be met with a “swift, stern and united transatlantic response”, according to Price.

– Maureen Groppe

Following:Biden threatens devastating sanctions if Russia invades Ukraine. Here’s what it might look like.

Ukrainian defense website, banks suffer cyberattack

Ukraine’s Information Security Center said on Tuesday that the country’s Defense Ministry and at least two banks came under a cyberattack, shutting down websites and access to information and accounts.

Ukraine’s Center for Strategic Communications and Information Security did not attribute the attacks in an online publication, but suggested Russia was responsible.

“It cannot be ruled out that the attacker used small backstabbing tactics because his aggressive plans do not work on a large scale,” said the center, which is part of Ukraine’s culture ministry and works with organizations. American, British and NATO officials in Kyiv.

“In the past few hours, Privatbank has suffered a massive DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack. Privat24 users are reporting issues with payments and the app in general. Some users are unable to log in to Privat24 at all , others did not display balance and recent transactions,” according to the Ukrainian Center website.

People walk past the entrance to a cable car station on February 15, 2022 in Kyiv, Ukraine.

He said Oschadbank also had failures and internet banking was down, and the websites of the Defense Ministry and the Ukrainian Armed Forces were also attacked.

In a statement, Privatbank said it had “succeeded in eliminating the consequences of the DDOS attack and restoring the stable operation of the systems”.

US cybersecurity experts have warned that a Russian cyberattack on Ukraine could take many forms, from large-scale takedowns to low-intensity distributed denial-of-service attacks like those targeting banks. DDoS attacks disrupt the normal flow of Internet traffic by overwhelming a target or its larger network.

Russia has used such DDoS attacks before some form of military action for more than a decade, including against Georgia in 2008 and later against Ukraine. Often they are carried out before more aggressive cyberattacks or as a way to disrupt communications before an invasion.

In Georgia in 2008, cybersecurity experts say, attacks on its internet infrastructure began days or even weeks before the Russian military incursion, with coordinated barrages of millions of DDoS requests that overloaded and essentially shut down servers. Georgians. The website of then Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, for example, was taken down for more than a day by multiple DDoS attacks.

– Josh Meyer and Karina Zaiets

President Joe Biden arrives at the White House after speaking at the 2022 National Association of Counties Legislative Conference, February 15, 2022, in Washington.  He was to comment on Russia and Ukraine after his return.

Biden to address the nation on Ukraine

President Joe Biden will briefly address the situation in Ukraine in his afternoon remarks, the White House has announced.

Biden will not announce any new policies, according to White House press secretary Jen Psaki. Instead, it will provide a deadlock update.

“He will talk about the situation on the ground, the steps we have taken, the actions we are ready to take, the issues for the United States and the world and the impact this can have on us at home” , he added. psaki tweeted.

Biden will repeat that the United States is still seeking a diplomatic resolution, pointing to the “multiple diplomatic exit ramps” already offered to Russia by the United States and its allies.

“The United States continues to believe that diplomacy and de-escalation is the best way forward, but it is prepared for all scenarios,” the White House said in a statement.

Biden is due to speak from the East Room at 3:30 p.m.

– Maureen Groppe

Following:Where is Ukraine? Where are the NATO members? A guide to post-Soviet Eastern Europe

Blinken talks to Lavrov while Biden talks to Macron

Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on Tuesday morning as efforts to defuse the military situation around Ukraine intensified.

The call with the Russian foreign minister came hours after Moscow said it had started withdrawing some troop units taking part in military exercises near the Ukrainian border.

A senior State Department official provided little information about the call, other than that Blinken and Lavrov agreed to stay in touch during their final conversation.

Around the same time as Lavrov’s call, President Joe Biden spoke with French President Emmanuel Macron from 10:11 a.m. to 11 a.m., according to the White House.

– Maureen Groppe

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a joint news conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz following their talks at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia February 15, 2022.

Russia announces that troops will return to their bases

The Russian Defense Ministry said on Tuesday it had started withdrawing some troop units taking part in military exercises near the Ukrainian border, but it gave no specific details on where the troops were moving from. withdrew, nor on their number.

Ukrainian officials said it was too early to tell whether the announcement reflected a real change in tone from Moscow after weeks of tension over fears of a Russian invasion.

“As with all things Russia, actions speak louder than words,” Deputy National Security Advisor Daleep Singh told CNBC Tuesday morning. “We are going to watch everything we see on the ground very carefully. And of course our goal is peace and the principle that borders cannot be redrawn by force.”

“If there is a troop or a tank crossing the border, we are ready to impose the toughest sanctions ever imposed on Russia in collaboration with our allies and partners,” he said.

The apparent development came a day later The Russian Foreign Minister has indicated that the country is ready to continue talking over security grievances that led to the Ukraine crisis – Europe’s worst East-West standoff in decades – and Western officials have warned the attack could come at any time, flagging Wednesday as a possible doomsday. ‘invasion.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy repeatedly accused the West of causing undue panic over the threat of an invasion from Russia, saying Ukrainian intelligence did not indicate an imminent threat. Fears of an invasion have arisen as Russia has massed more than 130,000 troops near Ukraine. Russia denies having invasion plans.

Biden threatens devastating sanctions if Russia invades Ukraine. Here’s what it might look like.

Ukrainian leaders have expressed skepticism about Russia’s announced retreat.

“Russia is constantly making various statements,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said. “That’s why we have the rule: we won’t believe when we hear, we will believe when we see. When we see troops withdrawing, we will believe in de-escalation.”

Moscow wants guarantees that NATO will not allow Ukraine and other former Soviet countries to join the military alliance. He also wants the alliance to stop arms deployments in Ukraine and withdraw its forces from Eastern Europe.

The Kremlin has called US warnings of an impending attack “hysteria” and “absurdity”, and many Russians believe Washington is deliberately stoking panic and fomenting tensions to spark a conflict for domestic reasons.

Zelenskyy said Wednesday would be a “day of national unity”, calling on the country to fly the blue and yellow flag and sing the national anthem.

What is a false flag? US says Russia could use this tactic to justify invading Ukraine

Contributor: Courtney Subramanian, USA TODAY; Associated press

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