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Russia Holds Drills in Belarus as West Warns Of ‘Dangerous Moment’

Germany urges de-escalation, Pentagon speaks to Belarus
A Russian service member is seen on a BMP-3 infantry fighting vehicle during drills held by the armed forces of the Southern Military District at the Kadamovsky range in the Rostov region, Russia February 3, 2022. REUTERS/Sergey Pivovarov
A Russian service member is seen on a BMP-3 infantry fighting vehicle during drills held by the armed forces of the Southern Military District at the Kadamovsky range in the Rostov region, Russia February 3, 2022. REUTERS/Sergey Pivovarov

Britain said on Thursday the “most dangerous moment” in the West’s standoff with Moscow appeared imminent, as Russia held military exercises in Belarus and the Black Sea following the buildup of its forces near Ukraine.

Ukraine also staged war games and the United States urged Americans in the country to leave immediately due to increased threats of Russian military action. But leaders on all sides signalled they hoped diplomacy could still prevail in what British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called Europe’s biggest security crisis for decades.

In a new round of talks, Britain’s foreign minister sparred publicly with her Russian counterpart in Moscow, Johnson visited NATO headquarters in Brussels and Germany’s leader met his Baltic states counterparts in Berlin, where officials from Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France were also holding discussions.

Russia, which has more than 100,000 troops near Ukraine’s borders, denies Western accusations it may be planning to invade its former Soviet neighbour, though it says it could take unspecified “military-technical” action unless demands are met.

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