The conflict in Ukraine is moving quickly. Here’s what to watch

Diplomatic efforts to defuse tensions have so far failed to produce a result.

As tensions continue to rise, here are some key moments to watch in the current Ukraine crisis.

Over the past week, Russian President Vladimir Putin has focused international attention on a series of military exercises that have tested Russia’s conventional weapons. Military force. The Russian Defense Ministry released flashy footage of live-fire exercises in neighboring Belarus involving tanks, artillery and fighter jets, and the exercises showcased Russia’s air and sea defences.

On Saturday, Russia is set to test its strategic deterrent: its nuclear forces. The Kremlin announced Friday that Putin will “likely be at the center of the situation” during Saturday’s military exercises, where ballistic and cruise missiles will be launched. Three decades after the end of the Cold War, both Russia and the United States have nuclear arsenals on “maximum” alert — that is, nuclear warheads attached to their delivery systems and ready to launch at a moment’s notice.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov noted that such exercises are “quite regular”, and will include appropriate international notifications. That’s right, up to a point: These readiness exercises are taking place against the backdrop of international tensions over Ukraine that could turn into a major war.

Tensions escalate in Donbass

Tensions in Ukraine reached their highest level in years on Friday after pro-Russian separatist leaders in the breakaway republics of Ukraine’s breakaway region of Donbas called for civilians to evacuate – and after an explosion destroyed a car in the separatist-held city of Donetsk, sparking more war. Stress.

Ukrainian officials have denied any plans to retake Donbass by force, saying they see this week’s events as an attempt by Russia to create a pretext for an invasion. But Russian state media has already sounded the alarm, showing images of civilians leaving Donbass on buses bound for Russia’s Rostov region, just across the border.

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It is unclear how many civilians will be evacuated or whether there are other incidents in eastern Ukraine that Russia could use as a possible pretext for war.

diplomatic balance

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, speaking this week about his country's ambitions to join NATO.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is scheduled to attend the Munich Security Conference on Saturday though The appeal of the administration of US President Joe Biden to reconsider those plans to leave Ukraine amid fears of a possible Russian invasion. Unexpected surprises can cut short his visit.

The United States and NATO are taking steps

The United States has already strengthened its military presence in Eastern Europe. The US Army announced a training mission in Hungary. How will the United States and its allies react to Russia’s latest moves? Will we see more evacuations of diplomats remaining in Kiev?

The end of the Olympics

Russia said its military exercises are scheduled to end on Sunday, coinciding with the end of Beijing Winter Olympics. Will the Olympics be remembered as an international unifying moment, or a tragic prelude to war? This is anyone’s guess.

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