In the midst of the most absolute confusion when it comes to designating the meeting place for the delegations from Russia and Ukraine to try to reach a ceasefire and negotiate the offer of “neutrality” launched by the Ukrainian president, Volodímir Zelenski, the maximum Russian leader, Vladimir Putin, has added fuel to the fire by announcing, during a meeting with his Defense Minister, Sergey Shoigu, the placing of the country’s nuclear forces on maximum alert.
“I order the Defense Ministers and the Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces (Shoigú and Valeri Gerasimov) to put the deterrent forces of the Russian Army in a special combat duty regime,” Putin told the Minister of Defense. and Gerasimov. He has explained that such a measure is the response to the “aggressive declarations” of Western leaders and the “illegitimate sanctions” imposed on Moscow by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom and Canada.
The head of the Kremlin has pointed out that “Western countries are not only hostile to our country in the economic field, and by this I mean the illegitimate sanctions, but high officials of the main NATO countries also allow themselves aggressive statements against our country”. In his speech on the 24th, when he gave the order to start the “special operation” against Ukraine, Putin already brandished nuclear weapons as a warning to those who try to carry out any type of action to prevent the invasion or to help Ukraine militarily by sending their troops to fight.
The website of the Russian Defense Ministry explains the meaning of “special service regime of strategic forces”, underlining that “the basis of the combat potential of the Russian Armed Forces is designed to deter aggression against the Russian Federation and its allies, as well as to defeat the aggressor in a war using various types of weapons, including nuclear ones.
Meanwhile, after the meeting was called off due to disagreements over the place for its celebration and after a telephone conversation between Zelensky and his Belarusian counterpart, Alexander Lukashenko, whose country votes this Sunday in a constitutional referendum, it has been agreed that the meeting take place this very afternoon on the border of the two countries, along the Pripyats River.
The Kremlin accepted Zelensky’s dialogue offer on Friday and it seemed that it was not going to materialize due to the fact that the Russian offensive does not stop and the discrepancies about the site where it would take place. First there was talk of Minsk, the capital of Belarus, and then of Gomel, also a Belarusian city. But in Kiev, both venues declined, considering that Belarus is involved in the conflict.
On the battle front, the fiercest fighting today took place in the city of Kharkov, the second largest in the country. It seemed like it was a matter of hours before this town in eastern Ukraine fell into the hands of Russian troops. However, its governor, Oleg Sinegúbov, has assured on social networks that “Kharkov is totally under our control (…) We are eliminating the enemy.”
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.