The latest on Ukraine and Russia tensions

By Laura Smith-Spark, Ed Upright and Adrienne Vogt, CNN

Updated 5:33 a.m. ET, February 14, 2022
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2:14 p.m. ET, February 13, 2022

Zelensky asked Biden for greater military and financial support, Ukrainian official says

From CNN’s Matthew Chance

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky attends Ministry of Internal Affairs drills in Kherson, Ukraine, on Saturday, February 12.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky attends Ministry of Internal Affairs drills in Kherson, Ukraine, on Saturday, February 12. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office/AP)

During a call on Sunday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky asked US President Joe Biden for greater military and financial support, as well as for him to visit Ukraine, according to a senior Ukrainian official.

The official, who has been briefed on the conversation, told CNN that Zelensky used the Sunday call to suggest what the official called “concrete ideas to diminish the Russian threat to Ukraine."

These included renewed calls for Washington to provide greater military support for Ukraine, including the provision of more advanced weaponry, according to the official. 

Zelensky also emphasized the need for a significant financial package for Ukraine, according to the official. The official told CNN the Ukrainian leader stressed to his US counterpart that strong economic support would – in the words of the official -- “show Putin that the West stands with Ukraine, and that the impact of Putin’s escalation would bear no fruit.” 

According to the Ukrainian official, Zelensky asked Biden to visit Ukraine as soon as possible, but that there was no positive response from Biden. US officials say a trip by Biden to Ukraine is extremely unlikely. 

1:50 p.m. ET, February 13, 2022

Canadian Armed Forces to relocate some Joint Task Force personnel out of Ukraine

From CNN's Paula Newton and Raja Razek

The Canadian Armed Forces announced that it would temporarily move some Joint Task Force personnel out of Ukraine, according to a news release from the Office of the Minister of National Defense. 

"As a result of the complex operational environment linked to Russia’s unwarranted aggression against Ukraine, the Canadian Armed Forces is in the process of temporarily relocating components of Joint Task Force – Ukraine (JTF-U) to elsewhere in Europe," the news release said. 

The repositioning of personnel "does not signal the end of the mission," according to the release.

"The Canadian Armed Forces remains committed to the people of Ukraine and its mission to increase the capacity and capability of the Security Forces of Ukraine," the release said. 

1:31 p.m. ET, February 13, 2022

Ukraine appeals for a meeting of the OSCE

From CNN's Tim Lister

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, left, and Chairman of OSCE and Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau in Kyiv, Ukraine, on February 10.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, left, and Chairman of OSCE and Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau in Kyiv, Ukraine, on February 10. (Valentyn Ogirenko/AFP/Getty Images)

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has called for a meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), citing Russia's failure to respond to Ukraine's demand for "detailed explanations on military activities in the areas adjacent to the territory of Ukraine and in the temporarily occupied Crimea."

Kuleba tweeted Sunday: "Russia failed to respond to our request under the Vienna Document. Consequently, we take the next step. We request a meeting with Russia and all participating states within 48 hours to discuss its reinforcement & redeployment along our border & in temporarily occupied Crimea."

The Vienna Document, signed under the auspices of the OSCE, stipulates that "Participating States will....consult and co-operate with each other about any unusual and unscheduled activities of their military forces outside their normal peacetime locations which are militarily significant."

The agreement says that a participating state will be entitled to a reply within 48 hours.

"If Russia is serious when it talks about the indivisibility of security in the OSCE space, it must fulfill its commitment to military transparency in order to de-escalate tensions and enhance security for all," Kuleba said. 

1:04 p.m. ET, February 13, 2022

Biden told Zelensky US will respond "swiftly and decisively" to further aggression by Russia

From CNN's Sam Fossum

US President Joe Biden told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in a call on Sunday that the US would respond "swiftly and decisively" to further Russian aggression against Ukraine, according to a statement from the White House.

The two leaders "agreed on the importance of continuing to pursue diplomacy and deterrence in response to Russia’s military build-up on Ukraine’s borders," according to the statement. 

12:22 p.m. ET, February 13, 2022

Cyprus advises citizens to leave Ukraine

From CNN's Josh Pennington, Niamh Kennedy and Duarte Mendonca

Cyprus' Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued guidance on Saturday advising its citizens to leave Ukraine, especially “if their presence in the country is not necessary.”

“In view of reports of possible further escalation of tensions in the region, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs recommends that citizens of the Republic of Cyprus avoid travelling to Ukraine,” the statement said. 

“In addition, citizens of the Republic of Cyprus who are residing permanently and/or temporarily anywhere in Ukraine are advised to make their presence in the country known and provide their contact details by registering on the Connect2CY online platform and/or by contacting the Embassy of the Republic of Cyprus in Kiev,” the statement added.

"Cypriot citizens are encouraged to leave the country if their presence in the country is not necessary,” the statement concluded.

12:12 p.m. ET, February 13, 2022

Situation in Ukraine "building now to some kind of crescendo opportunity for Mr. Putin," says Pentagon spokesman

From CNN's Allison Malloy

Pentagon press secretary John Kirby warned Sunday that the situation in Ukraine is “building now to some sort of crescendo opportunity for Mr. Putin,” based on US intelligence.

Asked on Fox News Sunday what intelligence the Pentagon has seen to suggest Russia could invade Ukraine at any moment, Adm. Kirby said “it really was a combination of factors” including what the United States is seeing "in plain sight" on the border.

“I think a mosaic of the intelligence that we’re seeing. Not speaking to it specifically but we have good sources of intelligence and they’re telling us that things are sort of building now to some kind of crescendo opportunity for Mr. Putin,” Kirby said.

In a separate interview with MSNBC, Kirby provided a further readout of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin's Saturday phone call with his Russian counterpart. This said that Austin made the point that “if one of the things President Putin says he doesn’t want is a strong NATO and a strong NATO on his western flank, he’s exactly going to end up with that result” if he continues down the path of invasion. 

Kirby also confirmed on MSNBC that 160 Florida National Guard soldiers have safely left Ukraine after the Pentagon ordered their evacuation Saturday. Those troops have been in Ukraine since November on a training mission.

Kirby said that Austin “out of an abundance of caution... decided it was time to move them out of the country.” The press secretary added that the troops were already stationed close to the Polish border and it was “fairly easy to get them out of the country.”

Asked whether German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s planned visit to Russia on Tuesday was a “last-ditch effort,” Kirby replied: “I don’t know if I’d say last ditch but certainly we recognize the time component here seems to be shrinking and that gives us all cause for concern. But again, we’ve said it and we still believe it today, there is still a time and a space for a diplomatic path forward.”

1:06 p.m. ET, February 13, 2022

United States and Lithuania send military aid to Ukraine

From CNN's Paul Murphy and Niamh Kennedy

Members of Ukrainian military load a flat bed truck with boxes and US military aid to be shipped, outside Kyiv, Ukraine on February 13.
Members of Ukrainian military load a flat bed truck with boxes and US military aid to be shipped, outside Kyiv, Ukraine on February 13. (Sergei Supinsky/AFP/Getty Images)

Ukraine Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said Sunday that Ukraine had received 180 tons of ammunition from the United States for the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

"Our friends are not sleeping!" he tweeted.

Lithuania's Ministry of Defense said the Baltic state had also sent defense aid to Ukraine over the weekend. Minister of Defense Arvydas Anušauskas said Sunday that the aid included "the Stinger anti-aircraft missile system." 

The Lithuanian Embassy in Kyiv published photos of the defense aid inside a C-17 aircraft, which showed that vehicles were also sent. The embassy said the aid also included protective vests.

Reznikov tweeted his thanks for that delivery, noting that it contained Stingers -- a portable air-defense system that can be deployed by ground troops against aircraft.

He added that Ukrainian and Lithuanian relations were "very close (and) have lasted for many centuries."

10:41 a.m. ET, February 13, 2022

French Embassy in Kyiv tells citizens to prepare water, food and warm clothing

From CNN's Stephanie Halasz

France is not for the moment advising its citizens to leave Ukraine, but has urged its compatriots there to prepare water, food and warm clothing.

In a message published Sunday on the website of the French Embassy in Kyiv, the French ambassador also recommends having a full tank of gas for vehicles, and stocking up on extra fuel.

The embassy remains open, Ambassador Etienne de Poncins says. But the French school in Kyiv, “Anne de Kiev,” is starting its February holidays a few days early, that is next Tuesday, “in order to allow those who wish to go on vacation a little earlier.”

The embassy has advised French citizens to postpone "all trips to Ukraine," and travel to border areas is strictly discouraged.

10:15 a.m. ET, February 13, 2022

Biden's national security adviser says Russia could invade Ukraine "any day now"

From DJ Judd

US national security adviser Jake Sullivan said Sunday that the United States believes Russia could launch an invasion of Ukraine this week, but is still holding out hope diplomacy can prevail.

Sullivan told CNN's Jake Tapper on "State of the Union" that Russian forces are in a place where an invasion could take place before the end of the Beijing Winter Olympics, which conclude on February 20. "A major military action could begin by Russia in Ukraine any day now," he said.

"The way they have built up their forces, the way they have maneuvered things in place, makes it a distinct possibility there will be major military action very soon," Sullivan said.

"And we are prepared to continue to work on diplomacy, but we are also prepared to respond in a united and decisive way with our allies and partners should Russia proceed."

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