As Western officials warned a Russian invasion could happen as early as today, the Ukrainian President Zelenskyy called for a Day of Unity, with Ukrainians encouraged to raise Ukrainian flags across the country.
Ukrainians defied pressure from Moscow with a national show of flag-waving unity Wednesday, while the West warned that it saw no sign of a promised pullback of Russian troops from Ukraine’s borders despite Kremlin declarations of a withdrawal, AP reports.
While a feared Russian invasion of Ukraine on Wednesday did not materialize, the United States and its allies maintain that the threat remains strong, with Europe’s security and economic stability in the balance.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has signaled he wants a peaceful path out of the crisis, and U.S. President Joe Biden promised that the U.S. would continue to give diplomacy “every chance,” but he struck a skeptical tone about Moscow’s intentions. Biden also insisted that Washington and its allies would not “sacrifice basic principles” respecting Ukraine sovereignty.
Russia has massed about 150,000 troops east, north and south of Ukraine. Moscow denies it has any plans to invade and announced a pullback of some forces and weapons, though it gave few details. Even though Putin has not committed to a full withdrawal, the Russian statements also seemed to lower the political temperature following weeks of escalating East-West tensions.
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