Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky could skip the Munich security conference this weekend as fears of a Russian invasion continue to grow and violence in eastern Ukraine escalates, according to a new report .
Zelensky’s spokesperson told NBC News on Friday that the president may revise his plans to attend the conference if the situation worsens.
“As of this morning, President Zelensky was planning to attend the Munich Security Conference,” the spokesperson said. “Now we are observing the situation, which is becoming more and more dramatic.”
A final decision on his attendance is expected to be made in the coming hours.
“If there’s a dramatic escalation or worrying messages, he might change his mind.”
Zelensky was due to leave for Germany on Saturday morning and was due to meet US Vice President Kamala Harris at the conference.
The potential schedule change comes on the same day as several intense developments in tensions between Russia and Ukraine – particularly in the far eastern regions of the country, where Russian separatists control some towns.
Since Thursday, the area has been bombarded with hundreds of explosions and an alleged car bomb attack. Ukrainian officials and Russian separatists have blamed both sides for the attacks, but no blame has yet been given for the vehicle explosion on Friday.
Russian news agencies claimed the car belonged to People’s Militia leader Denis Sinenkov. It was located outside a government building in Donetsk at the time of the explosion.
Earlier in the day, separatist leader Denis Pushilin ordered a mass evacuation to Russia of all women, children and elderly civilians from the region to Russia, saying Ukraine planned to invade separatist-held areas. from Donetsk and Lugansk.
“In recent months, we have observed a daily increase in the number of military and lethal weapons by Ukraine, including the Smerch and Uragan multiple rocket launcher systems, NLAW rocket launchers, as well as Javelins and Stingers along the entire nip,” Pushilin said in a video statement.
“Today their weapons are targeting civilians, us and our children. The armed forces of the enemy are in combat formations and are ready for the takeover of Donbass.
Ukraine immediately denied the charge.
“We categorically refute Russian disinformation reports of Ukraine’s alleged offensive operations or acts of sabotage at chemical production facilities,” Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said. tweeted. “Ukraine does not carry out or plan such actions in the Donbass. We are fully committed to diplomatic dispute resolution only.
Growing tensions have led the United States and the United Kingdom to strongly warn against “false flag” operations that could fabricate Ukrainian aggression to justify a Russian invasion.
“We know the Russian government’s playbook. Make no mistake about it,” said the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. tweeted Friday. “We call on Russia to de-escalate and engage in meaningful talks. #StandWithUkraine”
The government in London said the likely false flag operation involved an organized attack on civilians that would be blamed on the Ukrainian military or “terrorists”. Another possibility, the Foreign Ministry said, was that Moscow provoked violence in order to turn its forces into peacekeepers.
Currently, the United States estimates that Russia has amassed between 169,000 and 190,000 troops “in and near” Ukraine, a massive jump from the 100,000 estimated at the end of January.
This week, President Biden pointed out that an attack could happen in the coming days.
New York Post