Ukraine crisis ‘one step away from war’ as Putin masses more troops on border and US warships arrive in Black Sea

VIDEOS today appear to show major new troop movements in Russian regions within striking distance of Ukraine — in stark defiance of Western warnings. 

Russian state TV cranked up its rhetoric warning Moscow is "one step away from war" while demonising Ukraine as a Nazi state.

State TV also alleged that Ukraine is pouring military firepower into the conflict zone, but one video shows outdated Soviet light BMP-2 tanks from the 1980s deployed by Kyiv forces — no match for Vladimir Putin’s fearsome modern firepower. 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy today demanded talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss the escalating conflict in eastern Ukraine but has received no answer yet, his spokeswoman Iuliia Mendel told Reuters on Monday.

Russia had massed more than 40,000 troops on Ukraine's eastern border and more than 40,000 troops in Crimea, Mendel said.

The latest evidence of a Russian buildup came as the Kremlin’s spokesman insisted "nobody's going to move toward war", — but this statement seemed at odds with new footage and TV hype. 

Moscow unveiled a powerful video of its latest weaponry marking Day of the Air Defence Forces in what may be seen as a move to ratchet up psychological pressure on Ukraine. 


Meanwhile, British forces are helping Ukraine monitor Russia’s huge military build-up amid fears of all-out war between the two neighbours, reports the Mirror.

A small team of UK special forces has deployed to the region along with specialist communications troops from a Royal Signals detachment and a RAF spy plane has been deployed.

A squadron of RAF Typhoons armed with pave way bombs and brimstone missiles will also be deployed to Romania’s Black Sea coast amid fears President Putin is planning to invade Ukraine.

The Typhoon FGR4 jets will go toe to toe with Russian MIGs and Sukhoi jets as tensions reach boiling point.

They will be backed by spy planes and electronic warfare teams to jam enemy radars and missile tracking systems.

It comes as footage also showed new Russian military massing on Ukraine’s western flank, with movements in Transnistria, a no-man’s land controlled by Moscow bordering Moldova. 

Some carried "peacekeeper" signs, normal for Moscow forces in the breakaway territory. It was not immediately clear where the forces were heading. 

Troops and equipment have also been on the move in annexed Crimea, along with the Russian regions of Pskov, Ryazan, Rostov-on-Don, and elsewhere. 

This follows movements to the area close to eastern Ukraine — known as Donbass — and Crimea, where there are now estimated to be 85,000 soldiers from as far afield as central Siberia. 

Images also emerged from Ukraine of forces drilling use of the Korsar (Corsar) light portable anti-tank missile system.

And reports say US military reconnaissance planes P-8A Poseidon and Lockheed EP-3E Orion have been spotted over th Black Sea close to Crimea during the weekend. 

In a prime-time Russian state TV broadcast on Sunday evening, Putin ‘propagandist’ Dmitry Kiselyovc laimed Europe was “one step away from war” while asking if force would soon be used to “deNazify” Ukraine. 

A headline read: "Nazi flag over Ukrainian trenches in Donbass — is Ukraine in for de-Nazification.”

It labelled the ex-TV comedian Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky a "commander-in-chief comic", a "president of war"  who was "inciting" conflict. 

The show told viewers that it was Ukraine with NATO support, rather than Russia, that was building up military firepower close to the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk which are controlled by pro-Moscow rebels following a civil war in 2014 since when more than 14,000  have perished. 

"Never before has there been so much Nato military hardware in Ukraine," claimed the report. 

It also highlighted alleged arrivals of US transport planes and Pentagon-leased cargo vessels in strategic Ukrainian port Odessa.

Never before has there been so much Nato military hardware in Ukraine

These claims could not be immediately corroborated. 

The war-mongering report claimed that Zelensky "yearns for a revenge". 

He started up as a president of peace but has been transformed into a president of war, the report alleged, claiming Ukraine had gone onto a military footing to detract attention from its Covid-19 "fiasco" with infection numbers spiralling and vaccine shortages. 

Some Western experts have claimed that Putin is displaying his military for similar motives with key parliamentary elections due this year. 

Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov insisted elsewhere that "naturally, nobody's going to move toward war". 

He said: "Nobody is allowing for the possibility of such a war… 

"Likewise, nobody is accepting the possibility of civil war in Ukraine."

He accused the US of inventing Russia’s military buildup. 

"Washington is generally stingy with any, I would say, adequate and objective assessments of the Russian Federation," he said. 

Separately, a Ukrainian politician risked inflaming tensions with Moscow by speaking of the country's intention to reintegrate Crimea and Donbass into the country, while saying this would take a generation. 

what is going with Ukraine?

Six years after it invaded Crimea in Ukraine, Russia is again, menacing its neighbour.

There is a build-up of 80,000 troops, plus thousands of tanks, missile trucks, armoured vehicles and long-range guns on Ukraine's borders.

Russia tells western officials that this is just an exercise.

Meanwhile, the Kremlin's media machine says it is a response to Ukrainian aggression.

But Ukraine is not attacking anyone or planning to, although it does want to regain the territories lost in 2014.

It also aspires to join the EU and even Nato — something Putin is firmly against.

But the US secretary of state Antony Blinken insisted Russia would face “consequences” from the West if it acts “aggressively” towards Russia.

"I have to tell you I have real concerns about Russia's actions on the borders of Ukraine,” he told NBC's Meet the Press.

"That's why we're in very close contact, in close coordination, with our allies and partners in Europe. All of us share that concern.”

He said: ”President Biden's been very clear about this. If Russia acts recklessly, or aggressively, there will be costs, there will be consequences.”

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said Britain and the US were united in being “firmly opposed” to Russia’s campaign to destabilise Ukraine.
“Russia must immediately de-escalate the situation,” he said.

But Dmitry Kozak, deputy head of Russia’s presidential administration, has said Ukraine’s leaders were like "children playing with matches."

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