The latest Ukraine-Russia-USA news: live updates
A day after the US and Russia clashed in a remarkably hostile open session of the UN Security Council, senior diplomats from the two nations met on Tuesday, resuming private diplomatic talks aimed at defusing tensions in Eastern Europe.
The leaders of Great Britain and Poland are visiting Ukraine on Tuesday, a show of solidarity as Europe seeks to present a united front in the crisis.
“Our part of Europe does not experience earthquakes or volcanic eruptions,” Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said. said in Kyiv. “So living near a neighbor like Russia feels like living at the foot of a volcano.”
Yet even as this meeting is taking place, Prime Minister Viktor Orban of Hungary has traveled to Moscow to meet President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia – a move that has drawn bitter recriminations from other members of the European Union who see Mr. Orban’s attempt to cultivate a close relationship with Moscow at a time of crisis as an act of provocation.
US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken spoke by telephone with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei V. Lavrov, but reading the call released by the State Department indicated no diplomatic breakthrough.
Bitter exchanges between the two nuclear powers at the United Nations on Monday highlighted a vast chasm that needs to be bridged.
The United States has said the more than 130,000 Russian troops gathered in northern, eastern and southern Ukraine pose the greatest threat to European security since the end of World War II.
“They are trying, without any factual basis, to present Ukraine and Western countries as aggressors to fabricate a pretext for the attack,” said Linda Thomas-Greenfield, US Ambassador to the United Nations.
Russia responded by accusing America of warmongering, noting that all of Moscow’s forces were on Russian soil and in Belarus at the government’s invitation. But Vassily Nebenzia, the Russian ambassador, made no secret of the Kremlin’s disdain for the popularly elected government in Kiev, calling them “pure nationalists, radicals, Russophobes and Nazis”.
Despite a theatrics reminiscent of Cold War clashes of decades past, President Biden said Monday that the United States would “engage in relentless diplomacy” and “try like hell to improve the security of our allies and partners and all over Europe”.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was expected to deliver a similar message from Kyiv.
Mr. Morawiecki from Poland pledged to face this he called “Russian neo-imperialism”. Poland recently approved sending “defensive weapons” to Ukraine, and the Polish government has long rallied national support by saying it is working to eradicate communists – the “red spiders”, according to their terminology – of the legal system of the country.
But Polish government leaders have come under fire for attending a rally of far-right parties in Madrid over the weekend, as many of these groups are seen as either deeply sympathetic or outright pro-Kremlin. And Warsaw’s national agenda echoes Moscow’s in portraying gays and lesbians as a threat to civilization and positioning itself at the forefront of defending “traditional values.”
In this regard, Poland and Hungary are fellow travelers. However, while the Polish government has continuously adopted a hostile attitude towards Russia, Mr. Orban has publicly expressed his admiration for Mr. Putin.