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    Russia-Ukraine conflict highlights: American official in Moscow expelled; Russia attack on Ukraine imminent, says US

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    Russia-Ukraine conflict highlights: American official in Moscow expelled; Russia attack on Ukraine imminent, says US

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    Russia-Ukraine conflict highlights: The US on Thursday told the UN Security Council that its information indicates clearly that over 150,000 Russian forces amassed around Ukraine's borders are preparing to launch an attack against Ukraine in the coming days. As we meet today, the most immediate threat to peace and security is Russia's looming aggression against Ukraine, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told the UN Security Council meeting on Ukraine on Thursday. Blinken, who arrived in New York to address the Security Council before heading for the Munich Security Conference, said over the past months, without provocation or justification, Russia has amassed more than 150,000 troops around Ukraine's borders. Russia says it's drawing down those forces. We do not see that happening on the ground. Our information indicates clearly that these forces including ground troops, aircraft and ships are preparing to launch an attack against Ukraine in the coming days, he said.

    Russia-Ukraine conflict highlights: American official in Moscow expelled; Russia attack on Ukraine imminent, says US
    • With that it's a wrap to the LIVE updates on the Russia-Ukriane conflict for today. Do join us tomorrow for the top updates on the crisis between the two countries tomorrow. Until then, stay logged on to CNBCTV18.com for more all the top news from India and around the world.

    • Russia-Ukraine Conflict LIVE Updates: American official in Moscow expelled; Blinken invites Lavrov to meet in Europe

      Russia has expelled Bart Gorman, a US official in Moscow, on February 17 as the Ukraine crisis rages on. Reports suggest that the move is in response to the US expelling a senior Russian embassy official in Washington. Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has invited Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Viktorovich Lavrov to discuss the Ukraine crisis in Europe "next week", AFP reported.

    • Russia-Ukraine Conflict LIVE Updates: Gold tops $1,900 for first time since June as Ukraine tensions grow

      Gold prices on Thursday rose above $1,900 for the first time since June as investors flocked to the safety of bullion after U.S. President Joe Biden said there was every indication Russia was planning to invade Ukraine. Spot gold jumped 1.7% to $1,899.84 per ounce by 02:22 p.m. ET (1922 GMT), after hitting its highest since June 11 at $1,900.99 earlier. U.S. gold futures settled 1.6% higher at $1,902. U.S. stocks slumped more than 1% as Ukraine tensions heightened. Russian-backed rebels and Ukrainian forces traded accusations on Thursday that each had fired across the ceasefire line in eastern Ukraine. "When times really get uncertain and anxiety is running high, gold is still the safe-haven asset to go to," said Jim Wyckoff, senior analyst at Kitco Metals.

    • Russia-Ukraine Conflict LIVE Updates: Oil slides 2% as Iran talks offset Ukraine crisis

      Oil prices fell about 2% on Thursday as talks to resurrect a nuclear deal with Iran entered their final stages which could unlock more crude supplies, but losses were limited by tension between top energy exporter Russia and the West over Ukraine. "(The) oil market is locked in a tug of war between Iranian sanctions relief and Russian-Ukraine tensions," said Stephen Brennock at brokerage PVM Oil. Brent futures fell $1.91, or 2.0%, to $92.90 a barrel by 1:34 p.m. EST (1834 GMT), while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude fell $1.97, or 2.1%, to $91.69. Both benchmarks rose to their highest levels since September 2014 earlier in the week and both continue to face extreme backwardation in coming months, a market structure where prompt contracts are more expensive than those for later dates, indicating supply tightness.

    • Russia-Ukraine Conflict LIVE Updates: Over 150,000 Russian forces amassed around Ukraine's borders, US tells UNSC

      The US on Thursday told the UN Security Council that its information indicates clearly that over 150,000 Russian forces amassed around Ukraine's borders are preparing to launch an attack against Ukraine in the coming days. As we meet today, the most immediate threat to peace and security is Russia's looming aggression against Ukraine, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told the UN Security Council meeting on Ukraine on Thursday. Blinken, who arrived in New York to address the Security Council before heading for the Munich Security Conference, said over the past months, without provocation or justification, Russia has amassed more than 150,000 troops around Ukraine's borders. Russia says it's drawing down those forces. We do not see that happening on the ground. Our information indicates clearly that these forces including ground troops, aircraft and ships are preparing to launch an attack against Ukraine in the coming days, he said.

    • Russia-Ukraine crisis Live Updates: Russia plans to 'manufacture' pretext to attack Ukraine, US informs UN

      The US on Thursday told the UN Security Council that its information indicates clearly that over 150,000 Russian forces amassed around Ukraine's borders are preparing to attack Ukraine in the coming days and Moscow plans to manufacture a pretext for its strike. As we meet today, the most immediate threat to peace and security is Russia's looming aggression against Ukraine, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told the UN Security Council meeting on Ukraine. Blinken, who arrived in New York to address the Security Council before heading for the Munich Security Conference, said over the past months, without provocation or justification, Russia has amassed more than 150,000 troops around Ukraine's borders. Russia says it's drawing down those forces. We do not see that happening on the ground. Our information indicates clearly that these forces including ground troops, aircraft, ships are preparing to launch an attack against Ukraine in the coming days, he said.

    • Russia can invade without warning: UK defence ministry

    • A German Eurofighter lands at Mihail Kogalniceanu air base near the Black Sea, in Constanta, Romania, on Thursday. German Eurofighters have started arriving at the air base as part of a deployment to NATO's eastern flanks amid Russian military build-up on Ukraine's border. (Image: Reuters)

      Russia-Ukraine conflict highlights: American official in Moscow expelled; Russia attack on Ukraine imminent, says US
    • German army reinforcements reach Lithuania amid Ukraine crisis

      A German army convoy of 130 soldiers and 60 vehicles reached Lithuania on Thursday, bringing almost half of planned reinforcements for the country's German-led NATO battlegroup amid fears of a Russian invasion of Ukraine. The German reinforcement operation will continue until the end of the week, bolstering German forces in Lithuania by more than 350 soldiers and 100 vehicles, Enhanced Forward Presence battlegroup commander Lieutenant-Colonel Daniel Andrae said. 

    • UK scraps 'golden visas' amid Russian money concerns

      Britain's government said Thursday it is scrapping so-called “golden visas” offering residency to wealthy foreign investors amid security concerns and renewed calls for the U.K. to review its links with Russia. The Home Office said the Tier 1 investor visa route has given opportunities for “corrupt elites to access the UK" It said that in some cases, the visas have “given rise to security concerns, including people acquiring their wealth illegitimately and being associated with wider corruption.” Many of those who acquired such visas were Russians, and critics have long questioned whether the policy facilitated money laundering in the UK.

    • Some Americans refuse to leave Ukraine

      While tensions mount, the US government has urged its citizens to leave Ukraine immediately, citing the threat of an imminent Russian invasion. But not all US citizens who live in Ukraine are taking this advice. Many here don't believe that a full-scale attack on Kyiv is imminent, despite warnings from intelligence sources quoted in the media, reports BBC.

    • Oil slides 2% as Iran talks overshadow Ukraine crisis
      Continuing tensions over a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine continues to support oil markets because of the potential disruption to energy supplies.
      Russia-Ukraine conflict highlights: American official in Moscow expelled; Russia attack on Ukraine imminent, says US
    • UK prime minister accuses Russia of 'false flag' operation on school as pretext to invade Ukraine

      British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday accused Russia of fabricating a pretext to invade Ukraine by attacking a kindergarten in Donbas, reported CNN. “We know [this] was a false flag operation designed to discredit the Ukrainians, designed to create a pretext, a spurious provocation for Russian action,” Johnson told reporters.  “We fear very much that that is the kind of thing we'll see more of over the next few days.” Both Ukrainian armed forces and separatists controlling parts of eastern Ukraine said there has been renewed shelling in the region. Johnson reiterated that that the UK will apply heavy economic sanctions on Russia should it invade Ukraine, but continued: “I do think there is still time for the Putin regime to step back.”

    • A member of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People's Republic--a pro-Russia rebel group--patrols the damaged building of a school located near the line of separation from the Ukrainian armed forces in the settlement of Molodizhne, in the Luhansk region, Ukraine, on Thursday. (Image: Reuters)

      Russia-Ukraine conflict highlights: American official in Moscow expelled; Russia attack on Ukraine imminent, says US
    • Kremlin accuses US president Joe Biden of stoking tension 

      Russia accused US president Joe Biden of stoking tension, hours after he told reporters he expected an attack in the coming days, the Guardian reported. Meanwhile, Russia’s deputy foreign minister Sergey Vershinin told the UN Security Council: “Ukraine stubbornly refuses to implement the provisions of the Minsk Agreements.” He accused Kiev of repeated attacks on the Donbass region in eastern Ukraine, causing “thousands of victims.”

      “Attempts to place the blame on Russia are futile and baseless” and aim at “shifting of the blame away from Ukraine,” Vershinin said. He also rejected as “a baseless accusation” claims by the United States and European allies that Moscow is seeking to fabricate a pretext to invade Ukraine.

      Meanwhile, the website of Russia’s foreign ministry went back online after going down for a few hours. The TASS news agency cited the ministry as saying that the website had gone down due to technical issues, without elaborating.

    • Proposed meeting with Russia's foreign minister next week: US Secretary of State Blinken

      US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he proposed a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Europe next week in a letter to continue the diplomatic path to resolving the crisis created by Russia massing troops near Ukraine’s borders, as well as meetings of the NATO-Russia Council and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, reports CNN.

    • UK foreign minister slams Russia for reneging on committments

      The UK’s foreign minister James Cleverly has accused Russia of “patently failing to live up to the international commitments that it has made around military transparency.” Speaking to the UN Security Council, Cleverly said the whole world can see “Russia has deployed the forces necessary to invade Ukraine and now has them readied for action”, the Guardian reported.

      With regards to Russian rhetoric of a withdrawal, he said it is “all too clear that the opposition is in fact true and the Russian military build-up continues”.

      If Russia is serious about a diplomatic resolution “then it needs to show up to the diplomatic meetings and commit to meaningful OSCE (Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe) talks”, seeing as they did not show up on Wednesday and “they do not intend to show up on Friday”.

      The UK condemns the actions taken by the Russian Duma to propose the Russian president recognise the regions of Luhansk and Donetsk as independent, Cleverly added.

    • Dow falls over 400 points as US warns Russia is set to invade Ukraine

      Stocks fell broadly in morning trading on Wall Street on Thursday, chipping away at the weekly gains for major indexes. The S&P 500 fell 1.4 percent while the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 464 points, or 1.3 percent, to 34,469 and the Nasdaq fell 1.6 percent. Technology stocks were among the biggest weights on the market. Microsoft fell 2 percent. Markets have been unsettled all week by tensions in Ukraine,  

    • Russia looking for a pretext to attack Ukraine: Blinken

      US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, while addressing the UN Security Council meeting on Ukraine in New York, said Russia is looking for an excuse to launch an attack on Ukraine and said "this is a moment of peril for the lives and safety of millions of people as well as for the foundation of the United Nations Charter and the rules-based international order that preserves stability worldwide”, the Guardian reported.

      “We don’t know precisely how things will play out, but here’s what the world can expect to see unfold. In fact, it’s unfolding right now,” Blinken said. “First, Russia plans to manufacture a pretext for its attack. This could be a violent event that Russia will blame on Ukraine or an outrageous accusation that Russia will level against the Ukrainian government. Russia may describe this event as ethnic cleansing, or a genocide making a mockery of a concept that we in this chamber do not take lightly.”

    • Recent Ukraine outage caused by modest cyberattack, data shows

      The blast of rogue traffic that briefly overwhelmed Ukrainian servers earlier this week was modest compared to digital onslaughts recorded elsewhere, U.S. company Netscout Systems Inc said Thursday. The distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack hit Ukraine's defense ministry website and several banks on Tuesday, briefly knocking them offline and interrupting services. Kyiv blamed Moscow for the digital disruption amid heightened tensions since Russia began massing more than 1,00,000 troops near the border, raising fears Russia is planning to attack Ukraine. The Kremlin denied involvement in the denial of service and has repeatedly denied it plans to invade Ukraine. Ukrainian officials described the outages as the result of "the largest DDoS ​attack in the history of Ukraine," but Netscout said that the digital flood was pretty standard.

    • Russia invasion in ‘coming days’, says Blinken

      Addressing the UN Security Council meeting, US secretary of state Antony Blinken--echoing US President Joe Biden--said Russia is preparing an invasion “in the coming days” and that there is no evidence it is pulling out any troops. Blinken said he has sent a letter to Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov proposing a meeting in person next week, reports the Guardian.

    • Here is a summary of the day's events so far:

      • Tensions betweeen Russia and Ukraine have escalated after kindergarten was shelled, injuring three people, in the Donbas region
      • The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has reported “multiple shelling incidents” in eastern Ukraine, where Moscow-backed separatists have engaged government forces since 2014.
      • The Kremlin accused Ukraine of breaching ceasefire, while Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelenskiy accused Russia of “a big provocation”.
      • Western leaders said Moscow is attempting to stage a pretext for war. US President Joe Biden said he believed that Russia could attack Ukraine in “the next several days” and that a false flag operation was underway. UK prime minister Boris Johnson agreed with this assessment, saying that Russia is aiming to discredit Ukraine’s government. 
      • Moscow further ratcheted up tensions by sending its response to US proposals on security, in which it warned that it could take “military technical” measures, accusing the west of ignoring its concerns. Russia once again denied any plan to invade Ukraine.
      • In another blow to diplomacy, Russia expelled the US’s second most senior diplomat in Moscow, which the US state department has described as “an escalatory step”
      • A UN Security Council meeting on Ukraine is underway in New York. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has arrived in New York for an unplanned appearance at the meeting, while the Russian deputy foreign minister is expected to address the meeting soon.
    • Kosovo president accuses Russia of destabilising Balkans

      Kosovo's president accused Russia on Thursday of using its traditional ally Serbia to "destabilise" the Balkans, as Moscow faces off against the West in the Ukraine crisis. Russia, which has long backed Serbia in its disagreements with the West, does not recognise Kosovo as an independent state and has blocked it from joining the United Nations. Kosovo, like Ukraine, hopes eventually to join NATO and the European Union. Ethnic Albanian-majority Kosovo declared independence from Belgrade in 2008. "Today Kosovo, the region but also the whole globe is facing dangers caused by the aggressive course of Russia," President Vjosa Osmani told parliament in a speech to mark the 14th anniversary of her country's independence. Osmani added that Russia was using "its traditional ally Serbia... to cause destabilisation in the Balkan region".

    • Dollar near flat as investors weigh Russia-Ukraine talk

      The US dollar index was little changed on Thursday as investors weighed comments by US President Joe Biden that war appeared imminent after shelling on the Ukraine front line, while they were reassessing the probability of a 50 basis point hike at the Federal Reserve's March meeting. Biden said there was now "every indication" that Russia was planning to go into Ukraine. Ukraine and pro-Russian separatists within Ukraine earlier exchanged fire on Thursday across a frontline that divides them. Worries about the crisis in Ukraine have kept a bid in the U.S. dollar along with other safe-haven currencies.

    • Almost half of Russia's battle groups surrounding Ukraine now within 50km of border

      Russia is continuing to build up its forces around the Ukrainian border, with up to nearly half of Moscow’s battle groups surrounding Ukraine now within 50 kilometres of the border, Western officials said Thursday, as per a CNN report. Speaking during an intelligence briefing, the officials said that Russia retains “exceptional force” on Ukraine’s border and has the military mass in place to conduct an invasion of Ukraine, adding that of the 14 battlegroups believed to have been in transit toward the border earlier in the week, a significant number have now arrived in place. In addition to the buildup of troops, the officials noted the construction of a pontoon bridge over the past 72 hours, which they described as being highly unusual and inconsistent with any past military exercises. They also noted three additional vessels arriving at dock in Crimea and the addition of military vehicles and helicopters in Valyiuki in southwest Russia, which is 25 kilometres from Ukraine’s border. 

    • Russian deputy foreign minister to address UN security council in a few minutes

      Last night the Russian mission circulated documents alleging atrocities committed in eastern Ukraine by Ukrainian forces, reports the Guardian. Western diplomats have declared them false, and noted that the monitors from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has made no mention of the alleged atrocities. Details of the allegations are not yet clear, but presumably Vershinin will spelt them out.

    • The UN Security Council session on Ukraine is underway

      Ironically, Russia is currently the president of the council and has some say on how the meeting will be held, reports the Guardian. The UN undersecretary general for political and peacebuilding affairs, Rosemary DiCarlo, has told the meetings about reports of new ceasefire violations at the contact line in Luhansk and Donetsk and said “these violations must not be allowed to escalate further.”

    Russia-Ukraine conflict LIVE Updates:
    The tensions between the US-led West and Vladimir Putin-led Russia persists despite Moscow announcing a new drawdown of military forces from the Crimean peninsula on Thursday even as Washington and allies see the troop withdrawal claim with scepticism. State-run television showed columns of military hardware crossing a recently-constructed bridge connecting the peninsula to the Russian mainland. Satellite images from US-based private firm Maxar Tech,  however, show Russia has moved some of its military equipment that was deployed near Ukraine, but other hardware has arrived and Moscow still has a lot of forces and equipment near its ex-Soviet neighbour. Meanwhile, the US has hoped that India, which is committed to a rules-based international order, will stand by its side in case of a Russian invasion of Ukraine. Meanwhile, India's Ministry of Civil Aviation has removed the curbs on the number of flights that can be operated between India and Ukraine under the bilateral air bubble arrangement to facilitate travel of Indians from the eastern European nation, according to a senior official.

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