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FireNews : Kremlin accuses US of stoking ‘hysteria’ over Ukraine, as UN Security Council prepares to meet #FireNews365

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that Washington and US outlets have played up fears of a Russian invasion.

“To our dismay, American media have lately been publishing a very large amount of unverified, distorted and deliberately deceitful information about what’s happening in Ukraine and around it,” Peskov said Monday.

Zelensky, however, restated his position that the threat from Russia remains “dangerous but ambiguous,” and it is not certain that an attack will take place, the official said.

On Monday, Peskov called on the US and its European allies “to take a more constructive approach,” and said the recent threat of sanctions from the United Kingdom is “extremely worrying.”

“It’s cause for serious concern for international financial structures and businesses,” Peskov said. “It’s an open attack on business.”

UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said this weekend that Britain would introduce new legislation broadening sanctions and targeting specific individuals close to the Kremlin if Russia invades Ukraine.

The Biden administration has also identified several elite Russian government officials and business leaders that the US intends to sanction if Russia invades Ukraine, a senior administration official told CNN.

“In general, the Anglo-Saxons are widely escalating tensions on the European continent,” Peskov said.

Ukrainian soldiers pictured during an exercise on January 28.

Diplomatic efforts to de-escalate the situation are ongoing.

Last week both the US and NATO presented Moscow with written responses aimed at deterring a Russian incursion of Ukraine. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Thursday that the letters failed to address Moscow’s concerns over the eastward expansion of the military alliance.

On Monday Peskov declined to offer a specific timeframe for Putin’s response to the documents. “As soon as he thinks it’s necessary, I can’t give you an exact date,” he said.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will fly to Ukraine for talks Tuesday, accompanied by Truss, according to a Downing Street spokesperson. Then Lavrov and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken are scheduled to speak on the phone the same day, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told reporters, according to the RIA Novosti state-owned news agency.

United Nations Security Council to meet

The United Nations Security Council will gather to discuss the crisis later on Monday.

The US called for the meeting — which will be the first venue at the United Nations where American and Russian officials both speak about what is happening — in a statement on Thursday.

The members of the Security Council “must squarely examine the facts and consider what is at stake for Ukraine, for Russia, for Europe, and for the core obligations and principles of the international order should Russia further invade Ukraine,” US ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield said, adding “this is not a moment to wait and see.”

The council comprises 15 members, each of whom have one vote. It is responsible “for the maintenance of international peace and security,” according to the UN website.

“It calls upon the parties to a dispute to settle it by peaceful means and recommends methods of adjustment or terms of settlement,” reads the website. “In some cases, the Security Council can resort to imposing sanctions or even authorize the use of force to maintain or restore international peace and security.”

Every UN member state has to comply with the council’s decisions.

NATO 'line of defense' keeps moving east, Russian FM says

On Sunday, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba called on Russia to demonstrate its commitment to avoiding conflict.

“If Russian officials are serious when they say they don’t want a new war, Russia must continue diplomatic engagement and pull back military forces it amassed along Ukraine’s borders and in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine,” he wrote on Twitter. “Diplomacy is the only responsible way.”

Also on Sunday, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov placed the blame on the eastward expansion of NATO.

Lavrov rejected the suggestion that NATO is a defensive organization.

“The line of defense has already come close to us,” Lavrov told Russia’s Channel One evening show on Sunday.

“It turns out each time that the line they are supposed to defend is moving further east. Now, it has already come close to Ukraine.”

CNN’s Katya Krebs, Arnaud Siad, Kylie Atwood, Luke McGee and Vasco Cotovio contributed to this report.

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