Timeline: Russia's growing threat to Ukraine
NATO warns Moscow about taking "aggressive action".
PARIS (AFP) - Russia’s massing of troops along the border with Ukraine has put Washington and Moscow into an increasingly tense Cold War-style stand-off.
Here is a timeline of the spiraling situation.
- Troop movements -
On November 10, NATO warns Moscow about taking "aggressive action" after Washington reports unusual troops movements near the Ukrainian border.
Russian President Vladimir Putin accuses the West of "supplying modern weapons to Kyiv" and staging provocative military exercises.
- Winter offensive? -
On November 28, Ukraine says Russia is massing nearly 92,000 troops for an offensive at the end of January or early February.
Moscow denies this and three days later accuses Kyiv of a military build-up of its own, demanding "legal guarantees" that it will never join NATO.
- Virtual summit -
On December 7, US President Joe Biden threatens Putin with "strong economic and other measures" if he invades Ukraine.
- ‘Massive consequences’ -
On December 16, the EU and NATO warn of "massive strategic consequences if there was a further attack on Ukraine’s territorial integrity."
The next day Moscow puts forward proposals to limit US influence on former Soviet states.
- Week of diplomacy -
On January 10, top US and Russian officials begin a week of tense talks on European security in Geneva.
- Massive cyberattack -
A cyberattack on January 14 briefly knocks out key government websites in Ukraine.
Kyiv says it has uncovered clues that Russia might be behind it.
- Build-up in Belarus -
On January 17, Russian troops begin arriving in ex-Soviet Belarus for military drills, which Moscow says are aimed at "thwarting external aggression".
US officials say the size of the force is "beyond what we’d expect of a normal exercise".
Two days later Washington announces an extra $200 million in security aid to Kyiv.
- Biden fears ‘invasion’ -
On January 20, Biden says any incursion of Russian troops is "an invasion" after appearing to suggest a "minor" attack on Ukraine might invite a lesser response.
- High-wire diplomacy -
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken says he asked Russsian counterpart Sergei Lavrov at a meeting on January 21 to prove Russia is not planning to invade Ukraine.
Washington promises a written response to Russian demands.
- Baltic states move in -
The same day, ex-Soviet NATO members Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania say they will send anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles to help Ukraine defend itself.
Russia demands the withdrawal of NATO troops from Romania and Bulgaria.
- Invasion fears grow -
On January 22, Britain claims Moscow is "looking to install a pro-Russian leader in Kyiv" and occupy Ukraine, which Russia dismisses as "disinformation".
Washington orders the families of its diplomats to leave the country, and later warns its citizens not to travel to Ukraine.
- NATO on standby -
On Monday, NATO puts troops on standby for possible deployment and sends ships and fighter jets to bolster Europe’s eastern defences.
The next day, Moscow accuses the US of ratcheting up tensions as it launches exercises involving some 6,000 troops and at least 60 fighter jets in southern Russia near Ukraine and in Moscow-annexed Crimea.
On Wednesday, Washington refuses to shut the NATO door on Ukraine as the alliance sends it written response to Moscow’s security demands, many of which it says are "unacceptable or unrealistic".
- China warns US -
The US believes there is "every indication" that Putin "is going to use military force between now and the middle of February."
But after talks in Paris on the ceasefire in eastern Ukraine, Russia and Ukraine agree to meet again in two weeks. Kyiv sees this as "good news" and a sign that Moscow is seeking a diplomatic solution.
On Thursday, China warns the US that Russia’s security concerns in Europe should be "taken seriously".