Ukraine crisis: Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline will not open if Russia invades, US says – live coverage | world news

Hello and welcome to the Guardian’s live blog on the Ukraine crisis, bringing you all the latest news.

I’m Jennifer Rankin and I’ll keep you posted on diplomatic developments in the coming hours.

It’s another day of heightened tensions, as Western countries await an official response from Russia, after the United States and NATO again reaffirmed their support for Ukraine’s aspiration to join the NATO.

On Wednesday, the US State Department warned that the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline between Russia and Germany would not move forward if Russia invaded Ukraine.

Germany’s Ambassador to Washington Emily Haber appeared to endorse the position, citing earlier comments from German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock that “nothing will be ruled out.”

As Russia’s military buildup on Ukraine’s borders continues, British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said he was “not optimistic” about stopping a Russian incursion.

Wallace, who is due to meet his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu in the coming days, told the BBC there was still “a chance” an invasion could be stopped, but he was not optimistic.

He was speaking after the United States and NATO reaffirmed Ukraine’s right to continue joining the transatlantic alliance.

The United States on Wednesday delivered a written response to the Kremlin’s maximalist demands last month, which called for a veto on Ukraine’s NATO membership and the withdrawal of alliance forces from Eastern Europe. ‘East.

Russian President Vladimir Putin was expected to be briefed on the document, but his foreign minister has already given a big hint of the Russian response. Sergei Lavrov said

If the West continues its aggressive course, Moscow will take the necessary retaliatory measures. We will not allow our proposals to be drowned in endless discussions.

Read more in the Guardian report from Washington, Paris, Kyiv and Moscow:

Meanwhile, police are searching for a Ukrainian National Guard soldier, who fired on security guards at a military factory in central Ukraine for unknown reasons, killing five people and injuring five others before getting away. escape.

The shooting took place in the early hours of Thursday in Dnipro at the Pivdenmash missile factory during the handing over of weapons to guards, according to an official statement. It is unclear whether the incident is related to current tensions with Russia.

Christi C. Elwood