Kharkiv: Ctiizens of the Ukranian border city of Kharkiv have rallied in support of the country's government and have come out in the streets to protest military aggression by Russian troops which have been massed on the borders since October last year.
Kharkiv, an eastern industrial city that lies 42 km from the Russian border, was identified by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy as a possible Russian target, though his spokesman later said he was speaking hypothetically.
The demonstrators sang the Ukranian national anthem and waved Ukrainian flags, or held up flags of allies that have supported Kyiv, including the United States, Britain and the European Union, Reuters reported.
The latest demonstration shows the failure of efforts to scale down the crisis by Western powers, who have been engaged in a series of continuous negotiations with Moscow in the previous few months. Russia on Saturday sent a pair of long-range nuclear-capable bombers on patrol over its ally Belarus, with a hich it has been conducting a joint military drill exercise even as the US and UK step up troops in the region.
The Russian Defense Ministry said that the two Tu-22M3 bombers practiced interaction with the Belarusian air force and air defense assets during a four-hour mission. The flight followed several similar patrols over Belarus, which borders Ukraine to the north.
While Russia denies plans to invade Ukraine, the US and UK remain adamant over their suspicions of a possible invasion and have already begun sending troops to their allies in the region. US President Joe Biden has ordered 2,000 US-based troops to Poland and Germany and shifted 1,000 more from Germany to Romania in a show of the U.S. commitment to NATO's eastern flank.
Earlier this week, Russian President Vladimir Putin has signaled Moscow's readiness for more talks with Washington and its NATO allies. As part of high-level diplomacy to ease the tensions, French President Emmanuel Macron is set to head to Moscow and Kyiv on Monday and Tuesday, while German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will travel to Kyiv and Moscow on February 14-15.