Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday pledged more military support to NATO allies amid the Russian buildup surrounding Ukraine, placing an additional 1,000 British troops “at readiness” to respond to a possible humanitarian crisis.
Speaking in Brussels after a meeting with NATO’s secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, Mr. Johnson said Europe faced “a very dangerous moment, and at stake are the rules that protect every nation, big and small.”
The meeting occurred during a busy day of diplomacy surrounding the Ukraine crisis, with high-level talks taking place across Europe as leaders continue their efforts to stave off a Russian invasion.
Two days of shuttle diplomacy by President Emmanuel Macron of France this week failed to ease tensions over Russia’s buildup near Ukraine’s borders of what American officials say is 130,000 troops, many in the final stages of readiness for war.
President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia has kept the world guessing at his intentions, signaling that he is open to continued negotiations over his demands for a reshaping of Europe’s security architecture, while hinting at the prospect of an all-out war with the West.
President Biden and Mr. Macron spoke by phone on Wednesday to discuss the French president’s meetings with Mr. Putin and President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine and “ongoing diplomatic and deterrence efforts,” the White House said in a brief statement.
Here is a look at what is happening on Thursday:
After his meeting at NATO, Mr. Johnson will travel to Warsaw for talks with the president and prime minister of Poland.
Britain’s foreign secretary, Liz Truss, held talks in Moscow with Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov. In brief statements to reporters before the meeting, Ms. Truss said that she would “urge Russia to take the path of diplomacy,” and warned that “a war in Ukraine would be disastrous for the Russian and Ukrainian people and European security.”
The leaders of the three Baltic States — Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia — are scheduled to meet in Berlin with Germany’s chancellor, Olaf Scholz. After enduring weeks of criticism over Germany’s tepid response to the Russian buildup, Mr. Scholz has taken a more active role, meeting Mr. Biden this week in Washington and announcing plans to travel next week to Moscow and Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital.
Russia and Belarus began joint military exercises involving what NATO has described as tens of thousands of troops. The large-scale drills, including at facilities near Belarus’s border with Ukraine, have raised fears in Western countries that they could be the pretext for an invasion. The Kremlin has said that Russian troops dispatched to Belarus will return home after the drills, which the Russian Defense Ministry has said will end on Feb. 20.