Russia-Ukraine Live Updates: Zelensky Thanks Biden for Military Support in 'Long' Conversation

Live Updates
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin is "studying" U.S. documents sent in response to its security demands. The Kremlin said the document is not a "positive reaction" to its main concerns
  • President Joe Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky spoke over the phone Thursday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the conversation was "more of a check-in"
  • Russia considers supplying weapons to militants in Ukrainian Donbas "to deter Kyiv's clearly planned military aggression"
  • The State Department says Americans should "strongly consider leaving" Ukraine in updated travel advisory
  • France and Germany agree to meet with Russian officials again in two weeks after failed crunch talks on Wednesday
Anti-War Activists Rally
Anti-war protesters gather in front of the White House on Jan. 27 to demonstrate against escalating tensions with Russia. Win McNamee/Getty Images

Zelensky thanks Biden for military support in 'long' conversation

President Joe Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky discussed future action regarding the crisis at Ukraine's border during a phone call Thursday, in what Zelensky called a "long" conversation.

"President Biden reaffirmed the readiness of the United States along with its allies and partners to respond decisively if Russia further invades Ukraine," a White House statement reads.

The leaders discussed possible financial support as the U.S. is "exploring additional macroeconomic support" to help Ukraine's economy.

"Had a long phone conversation with POTUS," Zelensky tweeted.

"Discussed recent diplomatic efforts on de-escalation and agreed on joint actions for the future. Thanked President Joe Biden for the ongoing military assistance."

Biden and Zelensky also discussed the coordinated diplomatic efforts regarding European security.

Biden reiterated the commitment of the United States to Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity and the principle of "nothing about Ukraine without Ukraine."

"President Biden relayed the United States' support for conflict resolution efforts in the Normandy Format, expressing his hope that the sides' recommitment on January 26 to the terms of the July 2020 ceasefire will help decrease tensions and advance the implementation of the Minsk Agreements," the statement reads.

Thursday's call comes as Russian President Vladimir Putin "studies" the U.S. response to its security demands.

Cost for Russia rejecting U.S. dialogue will be 'swift and severe'

As U.S. officials continue to urge peace between Russia and Ukraine, State Department Under Secretary Victoria Nuland spoke candidly about how swift the response to Russia would be if they invade Ukraine and turn away peace.

"If Moscow rejects our offer of dialogue the cost must be swift and severe," Nuland said.

U.S. officials are also calling on Beijing to use its influence with Moscow to urge diplomacy.

"If there is a conflict in Ukraine it is not going to be good for China either," Nulan added.

U.S. sends 'lethal and non-lethal' materials for Ukraine defense

U.S. sent three shipments of support to Ukraine, with more on the way.

Pentagon Spokesperson John Kirby would not provide specifics in the exact systems given to Ukraine, but said the U.S. is in "constant contact" with Ukraine about its defensive needs.

He said the new package of material include "lethal and non-lethal" capabilities to help provide security assistance to Ukraine.

The U.S. is also monitoring the continued accumulation of "credible combat forces" around Ukraine and in Belarus. Kirby added that the U.S. is closely monitoring Russian naval exercises in the Mediterranean and Atlantic.

"All of this is what lead to concerns over Russia's intension," he said, "which remain opaque."

Documents U.S. sent to Russia are with President Putin

U.S. State Dept. spokesperson Ned Price held a press briefing to provide an update on the communication with Russia in hopes of coming to a peaceful resolve as tensions continue to heighten.

State Department Under Secretary for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland said the documents the U.S. sent are with President Putin, and he is currently studying them and needs more time to make a decision.

"I hope he will see a real opportunity for a legacy of security and arms control other than a legacy of war," Nuland added.

Pentagon outlines units ready to deploy to Europe

The Defense Department outlined the state-side military units on heightened alert for a possible deployment to eastern Europe.

Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby could not detail the specifics of the units but said there are elements of the 82nd and 18th Airborne Divisions from Fort Bragg, the 101st Airborne Division from Fort Campbell and the 4th Infantry Division from Fort Carlson.

There are also units from Fort Carson, Davis Monthan Airforce Base, Fort Hood, Joint Base Lewis McChord, Fort Polk, Robbins Airforce Base, Fort Stewart and Wright-Patterson Airforce Base.

These units would provide medical, aviation and logistical support as well as combat formations.

While troops are ready to be deployed if needed, Kirby denied the U.S. in the in the "eleventh hour."

"There's no eleventh hour here at all," he said. "We've been watching this buildup over time."

He pointed to the millions of dollars the U.S. has provided to bolster Ukraine's defenses over the last year and the work of the previous two administrations.

The U.S. and its European and NATO allies have been talking about the movements on the ground for months, Kirby added.

"The fact that it is possible that [a Russian attack] is imminent does not mean we just woke up to the fact that they have been building forces," he said.

Kirby said the accumulation of Russian combat power and lack of de-escalation from President Vladimir Putin led the U.S. to contribute of more defensive capabilities to Ukraine and be prepared to give support to NATO allies.

U.S. questions how seriously Russia will take diplomatic efforts

U.S. leaders hope Russians "aren't playing games" on diplomatic efforts as the Russian government says it won't rush to conclusions while reviewing the U.S. written response to its security demands.

"We don't know if the Russians are playing games on diplomacy," White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said during Thursday's briefing. "We hope not."

"We are certainly pursuing diplomacy with a level of seriousness and an intention in leaving that door open and pursuing that path, should they be open to it."

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters Thursday both responses from U.S. and NATO are now under review. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken expects to speak with Lavrov "soon."

Biden's call with Ukrainian President is a 'check-in'

Thursday's call between President Joe Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is "more of a check-in," White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.

During Thursday's briefing, Psaki said the call is part of regular engagement with the Ukrainian government, noting specific announcements are not expected to be delivered.

"They'll discuss the latest diplomatic and deterrence efforts with Russia," Psaki said.

"The President will reaffirm the United States commitment to supporting Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity."

Thursday's call marks the third time the Presidents have spoken since December.

Congressional delegation travels to Ukraine

A bipartisan congressional delegation traveled to Ukraine and Belgium this week to discuss the security situation in Eastern Europe.

Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Rep. Gregory Meeks is leading the bipartisan congressional delegation, the group of 11 departed Tuesday.

The delegation met with senior Ukrainian officials in Kyiv.

"Our unity is our power!" Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov tweeted. "Expecting new US legal leverages to deter Russian aggression!"

The delegation also met with representatives from NATO, the EU along with NATO and EU member states in Brussels.

Russian official calls on Ukraine to 'act independently' of allies

A Russian official is calling on Ukraine to "act independently" from its allies.

"We call on the Ukrainian authorities to act independently, put the interests of their country and people first, and resolve the ongoing conflict through direct dialogue with Donetsk and Lugansk," Alexey Zaytsev, the Deputy Director of the Information and Press Department of the Russian Foreign Minister, said.

Zaytsev also accused NATO countries of "fueling conflict" in eastern Ukraine.

WATCH: White House press briefing

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki will hold Thursday's daily briefing, scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m. ET.

Watch live here or below.

Turkish President offers to mediate talks between Russia, Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin accepted President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's invitation to visit Turkey, Russian officials said Thursday.

Erdoğan invited Putin to Turkey for a summit during a live interview on Turkish news outlet NTV on Wednesday.

"President Putin gratefully accepted this invitation," Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov said to reporters Thursday, CNN reported.

Erdoğan also offered to mediate talks between Russia and Ukraine to help restore peace.

"We want the current tension between Russia and Ukraine to be resolved before it turns into a new crisis," Erdoğan said on NTV.

"I repeat that we are ready to give support as much as we can. I told this to Putin and Zelensky and I will keep telling them that. We want peace and stability in our region."

The visit will be scheduled when the pandemic and schedules allow, Russian officials said.

German Chancellor will meet with President Biden next month

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will visit the White House next month to meet with President Joe Biden to discuss tensions between Russia and Ukraine.

In a new statement, press secretary Jen Psaki said Scholz, will visit the White House on Monday 7 February.

"Chancellor Scholz's visit provides an opportunity to affirm the deep and enduring ties between the United States and Germany," Psaki said.

"The leaders will discuss their shared commitment to both ongoing diplomacy and joint efforts to deter further Russian aggression against Ukraine," Psaki added.

U.S. sees no 'tangible' signs of Russian de-escalation

The U.S. is still hopeful that the Russia-Ukraine conflict can be solved through diplomacy.

"We've been clear we want diplomacy to work, we've been clear diplomacy needs to work," State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said on CNN Thursday. "Diplomacy is the only responsible way to resolve this crisis that Moscow has needlessly precipitated."

Even after U.S. and European leaders met with Kremlin officials, Russia forces remain along Ukraine's borders.

"In order for diplomacy to work, it needs to take place in the context of de-escalation," Price said. "Certainly not in the context of escalation."

Price admitted the U.S. has not seen "tangible" evidence of Russian de-escalation but said the option for diplomacy remains open for President Vladimir Putin.

Biden to speak with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky

President Joe Biden will speak with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky Thursday afternoon regarding the ongoing crisis.

The pair are scheduled for a call at 2 p.m., Zelensky's office told CNN.

The talks come one day after the U.S. delivered its written response to Russia regarding its security demands. Tensions remain high as more than 120,000 Russian troops remain stationed along the Ukrainian border.

Russia says U.S. proposal fails to address main concerns

Russia responded to the written proposal submitted by the U.S. the day prior, saying the document did not adequately address Russia's primary concern of NATO's expansion to the East.

"There is no positive reaction on the main issue in this document," Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said to journalists Thursday.

"The main issue is our clear position on the inadmissibility of further expansion of NATO to the East and the deployment of strike weapons that could threaten the territory of the Russian Federation."

Lavrov added there is reaction that begins a serious conversation, but on "secondary topics."

Lavrov also addressed security interests as it relates to agreements made within the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

"First, the right of every state to freely choose military alliances is recognized," he explained.

"Second: the obligation of each state not to strengthen its security at the expense of the security of others. In other words, the right to choose alliances is clearly conditioned by the need to take into account the security interests of any other OSCE state, including the Russian Federation."

Lavrov said the U.S. proposal will now be studied as a "whole" along with the proposal received from NATO. Officials will report to Russian President Vladimir Putin following approval from various departments.

"He will decide on our next steps," Lavrov concluded.

Defense Secretary speaks to Poland about 'unwavering support' for Ukraine

Lloyd Austin held a phone call with Polish Minister of National Defense Mariusz Błaszczak yesterday to discuss the buildup of Russian forces on the border of Ukraine.

The pair expressed their "unwavering support for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity," according to Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby, with the two leaders agreeing to a "continuing commitment to build the defensive capabilities of Ukraine's forces" in the face of a possible invasion.

The crisis is of critical importance to Poland - also a former soviet state - which shares a 330-mile land border with Ukraine and, some analysts believe, could be a future target of Russian forces.

Ukraine saw U.S. response to Russia before it was sent

Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said there was "no objections on the Ukrainian side" to the response, which the Kremlin says did not "take into account" their views.

Kuleba expressed the importance "that the U.S. remain in close contact with Ukraine" when talking to Russia about the border crisis.

MEPs show support for Ukraine

Members of the European Parliament have been demonstrating their support for ally and neighbor Ukraine just now.

Around a dozen politicians gathered in Brussels holding signs which read 'Support Ukraine' and 'Ukraine is Europe'.

WATCH: Blinken pleads with Americans in Ukraine to leave immediately

British Defence Secretary 'not optimistic' about stopping Russian invasion

After a press conference with German counterpart Christine Lambrecht, Ben Wallace told the BBC there was still "a chance" that an invasion by Russia could be stopped - but added that "I'm not optimistic".

The minister is in Europe this week to shore up support among European and NATO allies, before heading to Moscow for a tense meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu.

WATCH: Timeline of Ukraine-Russia conflict

'Good news': Ukraine welcomes further talks with Russia

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba - currently on a trip to Copenhagen to shore up Danish support - said it was "good news" that Moscow had agreed to hold another round of talks in Berlin next month.

The good news is that advisors agreed to meet in Berlin in two weeks, which means that at least for the next two weeks, Russia is likely to remain on a diplomatic track.

The news will come as a relief to officials in Kyiv and NATO allies, who continue to prepare for a Russian invasion in the coming weeks.

Russia's demands 'not taken into account' in U.S. response - Kremlin

Officials in Moscow, reacting to the letter sent to them yesterday from D.C., said the U.S. is refusing to acknowledge their concerns but declined to reveal what had been said between the two parties since last night.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov claims the U.S. did not demonstrate "readiness" to take Russia's views into account.

It cannot be said that our views were taken into account, or that a readiness to take our concerns into account was demonstrated.

But he did express willingness to continue with negotiations into February, likely pushing back any possible invasion of Ukraine until next month.

Russian troops to leave Belarus after military exercises

Joint exercises between the two ex-Soviet countries are expected over the next month but Russian forces will not stay on in the country, the Belarusian Ministry of Defence said on Thursday.

At the end of the inspection, military units and sub-units of the Russian Federation's Armed Forces will leave the territory of the Republic of Belarus.

The confirmation will ease anxiety among some that soldiers could remain in Belarus - a former soviet state and Russian ally which also borders Ukraine.

The exercises are part of a wider Russian military buildup in the eastern European region that has stoked Western fears that Moscow is planning to attack Ukraine and possibly other former soviet nations.

Belarus' President Lukashenko greets Russian/Belarusian troops
Belarus' President Alexander Lukashenko greets Russian and Belarusian troops during a military drill in September 2021 Getty Images

'The ball is in their court': How did the U.S. respond to Russia's demands?

Little was revealed by Defense Secretary Anthony Blinken last night about the letter sent to Moscow from D.C. in response to a set of demands by Russia, besides an "open-door" policy to discuss security issues at any time.

He said that "putting things in writing is a good way to make sure we're as precise as possible, and the Russians understand our positions, our ideas, as clearly as possible" but declined to go into details about what was in the document.

Blinken said the Biden administration had carried out a "principled and pragmatic evaluation" of the Kremlin's demands - chiefly that NATO halts its expansion into Eastern Europe and denies membership to Ukraine.

China calls for calm in talks with U.S.

China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke late last night about the issue, with China's public position being that both sides should refrain from actions that stoke the fire on the Ukraine-Russian border.

We call on all parties to stay calm and refrain from doing things that agitate tensions and hype up the crisis.

But Wang, seeming to refer to Russia's demand for NATO to halt its expansion in Eastern Europe, told Blinken that one country's security could not be at the expense of others and that security could not be guaranteed by expanding military blocs.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister visits Denmark in tour of allies

Ukraine is seeking to shore up public support from allied countries across Europe as tensions at its border with Russia continue to intensify.

Danish Minister of Foreign Affairs Jeppe Kofod said he was "pleased to welcome" his counterpart in Copenhagen this morning.

Russian officials debate sending weapon supplies to militants in Ukrainian Donbas

Officials in Moscow are discussing whether to send an arms shipment to its supporters in the south-eastern region of Ukraine.

General Council Secretary of United Russia, Andrei Turchak, said on Wednesday that Moscow should supply militants with weapons "to deter Kyiv's, clearly planned, military aggression."

The statement comes as tensions continue to rise amid Russia's military increase in what Ukrainian officials view as a threat of an invasion on Ukraine.

Ukraine advises athletes not to take photos with Russians at Winter Olympics

As war tensions mount between Russia and Ukraine, officials are telling their athletes not to link arms, shake hands, or show any sign of affection towards their Russian counterparts during the Games, which begin next week on February 4.

Russia is not sending an official team because of a four-year doping ban but there are expected to be more than 200 Russian athletes who have proven themselves clean of illegal substances and can compete in an independent team. Ukraine, meanwhile, is sending just 45, according to the Odessa Journal.

FULL STORY: Ukraine Advises Its Olympic Athletes to Not Take Photos With Russians in Beijing

Five dead and several wounded at Ukraine military factory

A Ukrainian soldier is understood to have opened fire at security guards at Pivdenmash missile factory in Dnipro - around 120 miles from Kyiv.

Police said the shooting took place earlier this morning and resulted in the deaths of four servicemen and one civilian woman.

The soldier is understood to still be on the run with a Kalashnikov and 200 cartridges.

Good morning and welcome to Newsweek's liveblog

Moscow officials are mulling over NATO and the U.S.' response to its demands for a pause to the expansion of the military alliance - something Ukraine opposes. Meanwhile, troops continue to mount along both sides of Ukraine's eastern border.

Follow Newsweek's liveblog throughout Thursday for all the latest.

Russian officials discuss sending weapons to its agents in Ukraine

Russian officials have started to discuss the possibility of supplying their militants located in Ukrainian Donbas with weapons.

The general council secretary of United Russia, Andrei Turchak, said on Wednesday that Moscow should supply militants with weapons "to deter Kyiv's, clearly planned, military aggression."

The statement comes as tensions continue to rise amid Russia's military increase in what Ukrainian officials view as a threat of an invasion on Ukraine.

Kyiv's mayor calls Germany helmet shipment a 'joke'

Germany will send thousands of helmets to Ukraine to aid military efforts, leaders announced Wednesday, a move Kyiv's mayor called a "joke."

"What kind of support will Germany send next... pillows?" Mayor of Kyiv Vitali Klitschko told German tabloid newspaper Bild, according to Reuters.

Wednesday, German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht announced the country will deliver 5,000 helmets to Ukraine, adding Germany "stands closely" on the side of Ukraine.

Questions continue over Germany's refusal to contribute weapons and were asked again during Wednesday's State Department and White House press briefings.

"I'm absolutely confident in German solidarity in being together with us and other allies and partners," U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken maintained when asked about the helmet shipment.

Blinken added each country has different capabilities and areas of expertise, noting the collective approach brings them together in a "complimentary" way.

"It speaks to the shared commitment that we have to defend Ukraine's territorial integrity and sovereignty and its independence," Blinken said of the U.S. and its allies.

Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany are set to hold new talks in two weeks regarding the conflict.

Pro-Kremlin media claims Ukraine is planning to attack

Pro-Russia media is reports that Ukraine is preparing to attack.

These outlets claim the West is using its blind hatred for Russia to encourage the Ukraine government to take aggressive action.

Leaders in the pro-Russia region of Donbas, Ukraine went on Russian state television to accuse Kyiv of increased offensive measures, according to BBC.

Denis Pushilin, the leader of the Donetsk People's Republic, said Ukraine sent all of it army's strike forces to the region Donbas in preparation for an attack, BBC reported.

Donetsk separatist Eduard Basurin is also alleging that Ukraine was preparing to target civilian infrastructure.

"The transfer of any type of ammunition to Ukraine will contribute to the escalation of the conflict," Basurin said.

Andrei Turchak, a leading member of the United Russia party, called on the Kremlin to intervene.

"Peaceful civilians are being killed while Western patrons are pushing the Ukrainian junta towards a direct invasion of Donbas," he said. "Under these circumstances Russia must provide the necessary assistance to the Luhansk and Donetsk people's republics by supplying certain types of weapons."

U.S. officials said they are more cognizant of Russia's efforts to spread disinformation.

Russia tends to misrepresent the truth in order to set a pretext for invading Ukraine, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said during a briefing Wednesday.

Foreign officials agree to meeting to speak about conflict in Ukraine

Officials from Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany have agreed to hold new talks in two weeks on Ukraine conflict.

This comes after tensions heighten and fears loom over a possible Russian invasion in Ukraine.

U.S. response sets 'serious' diplomatic path forward

The U.S. now awaits Russia's response to its written proposal, which sets out a "serious" diplomatic path forward, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken explained during a briefing Wednesday.

While the document will not be made public, Blinken shared several key elements which were crafted using input from allies and "repeatedly" reviewed by President Joe Biden.

The document clearly states "core principles" the U.S. is committed to and will continue to defend, which pertain to the sovereignty of Ukraine and upholding NATO's open-door policy.

The U.S. and its allies laid out concerns about Russian action against Ukraine, and more broadly the European theatre, believed to "undermine security."

The U.S. addressed concerns Russia raised in the documents it sent a couple of weeks ago and suggested ideas to advance security for all parties, based on reciprocity.

"It lays out the areas and some ideas of how we can together, if they're (Russia is) serious, advance collective security," Blinken said.

Blinken expects to speak with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in the coming days after Russia reviews the proposal and is ready to "discuss next steps."

"The ball is in their court," Blinken concluded.

U.S. Embassy in Kyiv will remain open

The U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine will remain open, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.

He said Americans living in Ukraine should "strongly consider leaving" the country on commercial or private transportation options that are readily available.

The Embassy will issue loans to U.S. citizens in Ukraine who cannot afford a ticket out of the country.

Blinken also reiterated that the voluntary departure orders for U.S. government officials to leave the Embassy were a "prudent step" to ensure the safety and security of his colleagues and their families as Russia appears to prepare for invasion.

The U.S. government will continue to have a "robust" presence to provide support in Ukraine, Blinken said.

U.S. citizens in Ukraine urged to leave now

The State Department issued an updated travel advisory to American citizens in Ukraine Wednesday, encouraging them to leave 'now' as Russia shows no signs of de-escalation.

"Our message now for any Americans in Ukraine is to strongly consider leaving," U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said during a briefing Wednesday, urging citizens to use commercial or other privately available travel options.

"The security situation in Ukraine continues to be unpredictable due to the increased threat of Russian military action and can deteriorate with little notice," the notice reads.

The State Department already had a 'Level 4: Do Not Travel' advisory in place for Ukraine.

Deputy secretary says Putin is expected to soon use military force

U.S. Deputy Secretary Wendy Sherman predicts that Putin will soon use military force, but she says no one knows what's currently in his mind.

"I don't know what's in Putin's mind and I suspect people around him don't know what he will ultimately do," Sherman said.

"We see every indication that he is going to use military force some time, perhaps now or middle of February," Sherman added.

The U.S. deputy secretary mentioned that the Olympics is Feb 4, and Russian President Putin expects to be there.

U.S. delivers response to Russia

The United States delivered its written response to Russia Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said during a briefing.

"On January 26, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia Alexander V. Grushko received US Ambassador to Moscow John Sullivan at his request," an update reads on Russia's government page.

"During the meeting, the head of the American diplomatic mission handed over the written response of the US Administration to the draft bilateral treaty on security guarantees previously submitted by the Russian side."

Blinken said President Joe Biden was "intimately involved" in crafting the document, making edits and "blessing" the final product. The U.S. also took input from its allies and partners.

U.S. is having intensive discussions with Europe about energy in case of Russian attack

Deputy Secretary Wendy Sherman participated in a conversation with Yalta concerning a European strategy about the country's energy in case of a possible Russian invasion in Ukraine.

According to Sherman, the U.S. is having intensive discussions with European capitals to ensure energy supply for Europe if Russia uses energy as a weapon.

"Russia needs to sell energy and it is critical for their economy," Sherman stated.

Pentagon details U.S. actions against Russian aggression

The Pentagon laid out actions already taken against Russia as more than 120,000 Russian troops remain stationed along the Ukrainian border.

"We have acted," Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said during an off-camera press briefing Tuesday.

"We're shipping over additional security assistance to the Ukrainians, as we speak, they're taking off and landing in Kyiv," he explained.

He added that President Joe Biden has clearly warned Russia of severe economic consequences in the event of an invasion and the U.S. is in ongoing discussions with allies to identify ways to bolster their defensive capabilities.

"We're increasing the alert posture on quite a number of U.S. troops here stateside as well as taking a look at a what could possibly be moved around the on the European continent," Kirby said. "So, I reject the notion that we aren't acting."

The 8,500 U.S. troops on heightened alert, all domestically based, would be dedicated to the NATO Response Force, if activated by NATO. Kirby said the move to ready troops isn't a "silver bullet," saying there's still time for diplomacy and dialogue to work.

How to watch Blinken's remarks

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will hold a briefing Wednesday at 12 p.m. ET.

Blinken is expected to speak on the growing tensions between Russia and Ukraine and provide an update on the actions from the U.S. and its allies.

The remarks will be livestreamed on the State Department website and YouTube page.

Pentagon says troops can be ready to deploy within five days

The Pentagon said the 8,500 troops on "high alert" can be ready to deploy to help Ukraine within five days of preparation.

Pentagon Spokesperson John Kirby said Tuesday that five days is the fastest the Defense Department will give notice to move those troops. No deployment order have been given yet.

That preparation timeline, estimated between five and 10 days, is subject to change.

"It could be faster, it could be slower, if we put on a heightened alert additional force," Kirby said.

Kirby also said the Pentagon is prepared to go beyond the 8,500 troops. He said 8,500 is not the "end-all-be-all number" and that figure be greater.

Those approximately 8,500 troops are domestically based, Kirby confirmed. But the Pentagon is still considering using troops based in Europe.

"We certainly aren't taking off the table ideas or the prospect that troops already based in Europe, either rotationally or permanently, could also be used to bolster the readiness and to help reassure our NATO allies and the eastern flank," Kirby said.

Russia threatens retaliation if demands not met

Russian leaders warn of "retaliatory measures" if the U.S. and its allies continue an "aggressive" course and talks on security measures are not constructive.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov addressed lawmakers Wednesday, as Russia waits on written proposals from NATO and the U.S.

"If the West continues its aggressive course, Moscow will take the necessary retaliatory measures," Lavrov said.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said NATO's proposals would be sent later this week in "parallel" with the U.S., during an interview Tuesday on CNN.

However, Lavrov warned, "we won't allow our proposals to be drowned in endless discussions," the Associated Press reported.

Chart reveals imbalance of militaries

A new graphic from Newsweek/Statista shows the imbalance of military power between Russia and Ukraine.

Graph shows Russia-Ukraine military imbalance
Graphic shows the imbalance of military power between Russia and Ukraine Newsweek/Statista

Germany to send 5,000 helmets to Ukrainian soldiers

Germany's Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht accepted a request from the Armed Forces of Ukraine (APU) for the helmets earlier today, news agency DPA reports.

It comes amid pressure on the country by allies to supply arms to Ukraine after the country refused a request to send weapons and ammunition. Berlin, however, still opposes the idea of supplying weapons to Ukraine and will currently only fulfill requests for protective equipment.

NATO to send written letter response to Russia's demands later this week

A written proposal will be sent to the Kremlin to "try to find a way forward" on Ukraine, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told CNN last night.

He said last week that the letter will address Moscow's demands on security and suggest serious talks on arms control and measures of transparency - despite Ukraine's refusal to accept any concessions set out today.

We will outline that we are ready to sit down ... and discuss arms control, disarmament, transparency on military activities, risk reduction mechanisms, and other issues which are relevant for European security. And also to sit down and listen to Russian concerns.

WATCH: Mitch McConnell praises Biden for heading 'in the right direction' on Ukraine

The GOP Minority Senate Leader, in a rare moment, agreed with the way the President was handling the Ukraine situation.

Major shipment of anti-tank weapons sent to Kyiv

Hundreds of Javelins - anti-tank missiles - and $200 million of other armaments have been sent to Ukraine in the latest shipment of weapons.

Italian government tells companies not to meet with Putin

Officials in Rome have asked CEOs attending a meeting about boosting business ties between Italy and Russia not to attend due to the situation in Ukraine, Reuters reports.

The meeting today - originally scheduled for November - is being held remotely and will feature executives at major firms like power company Enel and lender UniCredit, according to the news agency.

Ukraine 'will not accept' concessions to Russia - Foreign Minister

Ukraine's Dmytro Kuleba said his government "will not allow anyone to impose any concessions on us" when negotiating with Russia to de-escalate the build-up of soldiers on the border.

In an interview with CNN, he denounced the idea that any compromises could be made by allies "behind Ukraine's back".

If anyone makes a concession on Ukraine, behind Ukraine's back, first, we will not accept that. We will not be in the position of the country that picks up the phone, hears the instruction of the big power, and follows it.

Navalny added to Russia's terrorist watchlist

The imprisoned opposition leader Alexei Navalny, along with his brother and eight allies, have been added to Russia's registry of terrorists and extremists.

As part of the country's campaign to crack down on supporters of the opposition, independent media, and human rights activists, officials added Navalny and the others to the registry yesterday.

Along with Navalny, his brother Oleg, top aides Lyubov Sobol and Gregory Alburov, Vyacheslav Gimadi, Leonid Volkov, Ivan Zhdanov, Lilia Chanysheva, and Ruslan Shaveddinov were also added to the list.

Germany declines to send arms to Ukraine

The country's refusal to provide crucial weapons and ammunition has annoyed some allies and raised questions about Berlin's resolve in standing up to Russia, with concerns deepening about the impact of Nord Stream 2 - a new natural gas pipeline from Russia to Germany - and the leverage it has over the country.

The decision has left a bitter taste for Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, who said this week that Germany's stance on arms does "not correspond to the level of our relations and the current security situation".

In the long term, German officials believe that being a major customer of Russian gas can give it leverage over the country's economy and standing as a reliable supplier - but Germany's neighbors have made it clear this week that they are yet to be convinced.

It follows the announcement by British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss that the U.K. is trying to "wean Europe and Ukraine off Russian gas".

Biden warns of 'largest invasion since WWII'

The President told reporters last night that Russia invading Ukraine "would change the world" and once again underscored the gravity of the tense situation at the border between the two Eastern European countries.

Biden added there has been "no change in the posture of the Russian forces" along the border, while Ukranian officials have sought to appeal for calm - and less talk of conflict.

There are an estimated 130,000 Russian troops gathered on the Ukraine-Russia border in possible preparation of an invasion of the former Soviet republic - around half the size of the entire Ukranian army.

Meanwhile, NATO has pledged to deploy more soldiers if necessary and a debate continues about whether the U.S. should send 8,500 troops to Eastern Europe.

FULL STORY: Biden Says Russian Invasion of Ukraine Could Be 'Largest Invasion Since WWII'

Blinken urges Russia to 'take the path of de-escalation'

The U.S. has sent another bulk of weapons and ammunition to "bolster Ukraine's defenses" but the Secretary of State and wider government continues to reiterate the diplomatic route ahead of crunch talks later today.

British Foreign Secretary: Russian invasion of Ukraine 'would have huge implications for Europe'

Liz Truss said the continent is seeing a "threat to a free democracy" and suggested it could give the green light to other "aggressive regimes" around the world if allies did not act.

In an interview with BBC Radio 4's Today Programme moments ago, she reiterated the UK government's supply of weapons to Ukraine's forces and attempts to "wean Europe and Ukraine off Russian gas" - something likely to cause friction with ally Germany, which is facing pressure over it's Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline.

We are seeing a threat to a free democracy in Europe from an aggressive regime. Of course, that would have huge implications for Europe if Putin was to stage an invasion, but it would also have huge implication for aggressive regimes around the world.

Good morning and welcome to Newsweek's liveblog

Tensions continue to rise at the Ukraine-Russian border in Eastern Europe as over 100,000 Russian troops gather and NATO allies send soldiers, weapons, and ammunition.

Follow Newsweek's liveblog throughout Wednesday for all the latest.

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