Ukraine announces a ceasefire following Russian troop drills near its borders
As Ukraine's president Volodymyr Zelensky called for an immediate ceasefire in the eastern part of the country on Sunday, Russia conducted more military drills near the country's northern borders.
Russia led a large contingent of troops to neighboring Belarus, which borders Ukraine to the north, during the exercises, which were initially scheduled to end Sunday. There were concerns that the Russian troops could sweep down on the Ukrainian capital, Kiev.
Viktor Khrenin, Belarus' defense minister, said that the drills would be extended on social media.
“The preliminary results of the completed joint operational exercise ‘Allied Resolve-2022,’ conducted as part of a comprehensive check of the response forces of the Union State, have concluded,” he said on Telegram.
"The Presidents of the Republic of Belarus and the Russian Federation decided to continue checking the response forces of the Union State," the statement said in response to increased military activity along the Union State's external borders.
According to Ukrainian officials, there was also shelling in eastern Ukraine on Sunday. Separatist shelling killed two Ukrainian soldiers on Saturday, according to reports. Separatist leaders have however claimed that Ukraine attacked their troops over the weekend.
According to The Associated Press, Ukraine's military closed a key checkpoint leading to the Donbas area after it came under repeated shelling on Sunday.
Over 150,000 soldiers are reportedly stationed near Ukraine's border. As a result, Western officials again warn that Moscow is preparing for an invasion. Russia did not invade Ukraine next week as predicted by top White House officials.
20 Feb 2022