Russia began reducing its diplomatic presence in Ukraine, saying on Saturday it feared “provocations” from the Ukrainian authorities or from “third countries”.
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The spokesman for the Russian diplomacy said in a press release, in response to a media question about reducing its presence in its pro-Western neighbor.
“Given the significant influence that Washington and London have on Kiev … we conclude that our American and British colleagues seem to be aware of some of the measures being prepared in Ukraine that could significantly complicate the situation in the field of field security,” Zakharova added.
Similar measures have been taken by many Western embassies, with some countries such as the United States, Canada and Australia calling on their nationals to leave Ukraine as soon as possible.
On Friday, the United States warned of the possibility of an imminent Russian invasion of Ukraine. She described Moscow’s comments as “hysteria” while Kiev called for “calm”.
Vladimir Putin is scheduled to speak by phone again on Saturday with his US counterparts Joe Biden and French Emmanuel Macron, while US diplomatic chief Anthony Blinken is due to speak with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov.
Several rounds of talks in recent days have failed to defuse the crisis, which was generated by the deployment of more than 100,000 Russian soldiers with heavy weapons on Ukraine’s borders in recent months.
Russia also launched new large-scale naval exercises in the Black Sea on Saturday. Russia also conducts large-scale military exercises in Belarus, near the European Union and Ukraine.