The Ukrainian government made an announcement about a new security pact with the U.K. and Poland on February 17, as the day’s developments upped the ante yet again in the standoff with Russia.

As per the statement released by the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “The tie-up is meant to broaden Ukraine’s ties with the two European nations in terms of cyber security, energy security and countering disinformation.

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The announcement of the pact- which will culminate in a yet to be developed memorandum of understanding- came during a Thursday visit to Kyiv by U.K. Foreign Secretary Liz Truss. The British government has sought to play a visibly active role in boosting Ukraine, providing anti-tank weapons to its military in an effort to deter a Russian armour offensive.

The Ukrainian foreign ministry wrote of the pact, “Poland and the U.K. will continue to pave Ukraine with support, standing in unity with Ukraine in the face of ongoing Russian aggression.”

Meanwhile, events this week has sabotaged the hopes for a peaceful resolution after Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ominous claim earlier in the week of ‘genocide’ in eastern Ukraine.

On Thursday, Russian separatists reportedly started shelling positions along the front line with Ukraine-controlled territory in an attempt to provoke a similar reaction from the Ukrainians.

Western officials believe that Moscow is itching for a war pretext that would justify flowing its forces-estimates range from 100,000-150,000 troops into Ukraine. Russian officials stated that they have no such plans.

The Russians on Thursday has doubled down on an initial proposal from December that said the United States should pull its troops out of eastern NATO nations, as stated by reports. Moscow also demanded that the West drip its military support for Ukraine and withdraw all arms already delivered. Without these concessions, U.S. and NATO offers of discussing missile deployment limitations in Europe would be moot, the Russians warned.

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NATO and U.S. officials have dismissed the requests as unrealistic, saying Russia’s neighbours have a right to make their own security decisions.

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