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Set to take place at 4pm today, the Prime Minister is to virtually meet Mr Biden, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, French President Emmanuel Macron, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, Polish President Andrzej Duda and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The EU and NATO chiefs are also expected to join the talks. It comes as more than 100,000 Russian troops, tanks, artillery and missiles continue massed along Ukraine’s borders, with meetings between the West and the Kremlin failing to defuse tensions and reaching similar conclusions each time: Moscow wants guarantees NATO is not willing to offer.
Mr Biden, in his sharpest message to Americans in Ukraine so far, claimed he would not send troops to rescue US citizens who did not get out in time in the event of a Russian attack.
The president issued the alert after Antony Blinken, the US Secretary of State, warned an invasion of Ukraine could happen “any time”, perhaps before the end of this month’s Winter Olympic Games in Beijing, as yet more troops are being deployed by the Kremlin on its neighbour’s ground.
He said: “Simply put, we continue to see very troubling signs of Russian escalation.
“We’re in a window when an invasion could begin at any time, and to be clear, that includes during the Olympics.”
The Olympics run until February 20.
The US’ preference, Mr Blinken added, would be “to resolve the differences” with Moscow “through diplomacy”.
His words echo those of Jens Stoltenberg, NATO’s Secretary-General, who earlier this week said: “Russia has a choice: they can either choose a diplomatic solution — and we’re ready to sit down — but if they choose confrontation, they will pay a higher price.”
Ukraine: Washington believes there will be a Russian invasion
Mr Johnson, who on Thursday travelled to NATO’s headquarters in Brussels for discussions on the conflict, labelled the row “the biggest security crisis that Europe has faced for decades”.
He said: “Our intelligence I’m afraid to say remains grim and we’re seeing the massing of huge numbers of tactical battalion groups — potential battalion troops — on the borders of Ukraine. 70 or more.”
In a joint press conference with the Prime Minister, Mr Stoltenberg added: “The number of Russian forces is going up. The warning time for a possible attack is going down.”
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