Fears of World War 3 are being stoked in Europe after world leaders called a succession of emergency meetings to address Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
On Thursday the UN Security Council met in an emergency session while the U.S. national security council met at the White House, and NATO and EU leaders planned to discuss options on Friday.
The meetings came as more than 1,000 Russian soldiers joined fighting in Ukraine, helping pro-Russia rebels in the nation’s conflict.
Though Russia has denied invading Ukraine, others on the ground say differently.
Ukraine’s president, Petro Poroshenko, said: “Russian forces have actually entered Ukraine,” while Ukrainian fighters in the south-east said Russians had helped separatists capture Novoazovsk.
Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said Russia has been lying about its military actions in Ukraine.
“It has manipulated. It has obfuscated. It has outright lied. So we have learned to measure Russia by its actions and not by its words,” Power said, calling for “serious negotiations.”
While fears of a World War 3 are brewing, for now world leaders have shied away from promoting military intervention. Barack Obama said at a news conference on Thursday that the United States expects further economic sanctions against Russia. Angela Merkel, German chancellor, also pledged more sanctions.
“We are getting reports of an increased presence of Russian soldiers and of new unrest and fresh advances of the separatists in areas that until now were very quiet,” she said. “We made it clear in March this year that if there were a further escalation, more sanctions would have to be discussed.”
British Prime Minister David Cameron also had tough talk for Russia, saying that its military actions in Ukraine must “cease immediately.”
“I’m extremely concerned by mounting evidence that Russian troops have made large-scale incursions into South Eastern Ukraine, completely disregarding the sovereignty of a neighbor,” Cameron said. “The international community has already warned Russia that such provocative actions would be completely unacceptable and illegal.”
While it appears that world leaders have been trying to avoid the kind of military escalation that could lead to World War 3, officials in Kiev are asking for stronger support. The foreign ministry has called on its partners to help provide “military and technical support” against the Russian invasion.