Ukraine announces plans to boost the army, Europeans rally behind Zelensky

Kiev-President Volodymyr Zelensky signed a decree on Tuesday to increase the Ukrainian army to 100,000 in three years and raise the wages of its soldiers.

Mr Zelensky said he ordered the increase, “not because of the upcoming war, but to bring peace to Ukraine in the near future,” and urged lawmakers to calm down and avoid panic.

Russia has gathered more than 100,000 troops near the Ukrainian border and denied plans to invade. The actions warned by the United States and its allies will cause severe sanctions.

The Ukrainian army currently has about 250,000, while Russia has a total force of about 900,000. Ukraine said it is working with Poland and the United Kingdom to strengthen cooperation “in the context of the ongoing Russian aggression.”

During his visit to Kiev, Polish Prime Minister Mateush Morawicki said Warsaw would support Ukraine’s gas and weapons supply, as well as humanitarian and economic assistance.

“Being close to a neighbor like Russia makes me feel like I’m living at the foot of a volcano,” says Morawicki, who promises Ukrainian shells, mortars, portable air defense systems, and surveillance drones. I did.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was scheduled to meet Zelensky later on Tuesday as part of a Western support show aimed at persuading Russian President Vladimir Putin to pay a high price for the attack.

“We urge Russia to retreat and engage in dialogue to find diplomatic solutions and avoid further bloodshed,” Johnson said in a statement released before his arrival. “As a friend and democratic partner, Britain will continue to uphold Ukraine’s sovereignty in the face of those trying to destroy Ukraine.”

The West last week banned Ukraine from joining NATO, formally rejected Russia’s request to withdraw NATO troops from Eastern Europe, and expressed its intention to discuss arms control and confidence-building measures.

Russia has not yet signaled its next move, and the Kremlin reiterated that Putin would respond “when he thinks it is necessary.”

President Putin said last week that the United States and NATO had not addressed Moscow’s major security demands, but Russia is ready to continue talking.

He spoke to Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi on the phone on Tuesday. The office said the two leaders agreed on the need to find a “sustainable and durable” solution to the crisis and rebuild a “climate of mutual trust.”

Draghi said he emphasized the importance of relieving tensions in Ukraine “in the light of the serious consequences of the further expansion of the crisis.”

We have to unite

Despite the buildup of Russian troops, Zelensky has repeatedly opposed warnings by the United States and other NATO allies that Russia could attack Ukraine at any time.

“We must unite in domestic politics. You can oppose the government, but you cannot oppose Ukraine,” Zelensky told lawmakers.

“You can look down on the government and the president, but you can’t look down on your people. You can panic and keep people on the alert for political gain.”

Sanctions against Moscow will be built on the sanctions imposed on Russia after annexing Crimea in 2014 and supporting separatists fighting government forces in eastern Ukraine, but on Russia’s energy supply in Europe. Dependence weakens the western hand.

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergeń≠ Viklov was scheduled to speak with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken for the first time on Tuesday since Washington officially responded to Russia’s security proposal last week.

A State Department spokesperson said on Monday that the United States had received a written follow-up from Russia on the issue.

Senior diplomatic sources told the Russian news agency RIA that the letter was also sent to other NATO member states about how Moscow counterparts understood the concept of “security inseparability”. He said it contained a question from.

Moscow has agreed that NATO’s addition of 14 new members to Eastern Europe since the Cold War poses a threat to Russia, and NATO should not strengthen its security at the expense of others. Claims to violate international principles.

By Dmitry Antonv