london: The United States says the first shipment of military aid promised by President Joe Biden to Ukraine amid the standoff with Russia has arrived in Kyiv. Washington has also endorsed a move by the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania to send US-made weapons to Ukraine.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken tweeted on Saturday to salute the three Nato nations and former Soviet republics “for their longstanding support to Ukraine”.
Late on Friday the US embassy in Kyiv tweeted photos of a consignment it said had just arrived from the US, with "close to 200,000 pounds of lethal aid, including ammunition for the front line defenders of Ukraine".
The shipment demonstrated Washington's "commitment to helping Ukraine bolster its defenses in the face of growing Russian aggression", the embassy said on Twitter.
Meanwhile, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu has accepted an invitation to meet his British counterpart Ben Wallace to discuss the crisis on the Russia-Ukraine border, a senior UK defence source said on Saturday.
"The Defence Secretary is glad that Russia has accepted the invitation to talk with his counterpart," the source said.
"Given the last defence bilateral between our two countries took place in London in 2013, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu has offered to meet in Moscow instead," added the source.
"The Secretary of State has been clear that he will explore all avenues to achieve stability and a resolution to the Ukraine crisis."
Tens of thousands of Russian troops are massed on Ukraine’s border, along with an arsenal of tanks, fighting vehicles, artillery and missiles.
Russia has denied it plans to invade but the White House believes an attack could now come "at any point".
Britain’s Foreign Office on Saturday updated its travel advice to Ukraine in light of the crisis.
The department now advises against all travel to two pro-Moscow separatist territories Donetsk and Lugansk, as well as Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014.
It also advises against all but essential travel to the rest of Ukraine and said British nationals are advised to register their presence in country.
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss warned on Friday that Moscow risks becoming embroiled in a "terrible quagmire" if it invades.
In a speech in Australia, the UK’s top diplomat issued a blunt and personal warning to Russian President Vladimir Putin that he is on the brink of making a major strategic blunder.
He "has not learned the lessons of history," Truss told Sydney’s Lowy Institute.
"The Ukrainians will fight this, it could be a quagmire" she said.
Britain is among a handful of Western nations rushing weapons such as anti-tank missiles to Ukraine.
Meanwhile, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on Saturday slammed Germany for its refusal to supply weapons to Kyiv, urging Berlin to stop "undermining unity" and "encouraging Vladimir Putin" amid fears of a Russian invasion.
With tens of thousands of Russian troops massed on the Ukrainian border, fears are mounting that a major conflict could break out in Europe.
Ukraine’s calls to Western allies to bolster its defence capabilities have seen the United States, Britain and Baltic states agreed to send to Kyiv weapons, including anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles.
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