Putin war could start any day: Ukraine in horror warning as Russia builds up troops

Ukraine: Armed Forces appear to strike drones in Donbas

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Volodymyr Zelenskiy also claimed to have evidence of a plot to stage a coup d’etat – although he did not specifically implicate Russia itself in this. Speaking at a news conference on Friday, Mr Zelenskiy suggested “every day” there was a chance of war – although he also suggested the two countries had effectively been in conflict for eight years.

In recent days Russia, which annexed Crimea in 2014, has been massing troops close to its border with Ukraine in a move which has alarmed, among others, NATO director-general Jens Stoltenberg.

Mr Zelenskiy said he had uncovered a plot to stage the coup next week.

He said: “We have challenges not only from the Russian Federation and possible escalation – we have big internal challenges.

“I received information that a coup d’etat will take place in our country on December 1-2.”

He also insisted: “We are in full control of our borders and are fully prepared for any escalation.”

Mr Zelenskiy did not offer further details of the coup attempt and did not accuse the Russian state of involvement.

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The Kremlin has dismissed as false and alarmist concerns by the West about the military build-up in the region.

Moscow and Kiev have traded blame for rising tensions in recent weeks, raising fears that a long-running conflict between Ukraine and Russian-backed separatists could erupt into renewed open warfare.

The Ukrainian military on Thursday carried out tank drills in the eastern Donetsk region.

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Ukraine’s foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba earlier warned Russia an attack on his country would incur “political, economic and human losses” and would be too costly.

Earlier this month Mr Putin accused the West of aggravating the situation in other regions close to his country’s borders, without mentioning Ukraine.

He said: “We constantly express our concerns over these actions, talk about red lines but, of course, we understand that our partners are very peculiar and, to put it mildly, do not take all our warnings and talks on red lines seriously.

“Even though the relationships between Russia and our Western partners, including the United States, were just unique and these ties were almost at the level of allied relations, our concerns and precautions about NATO’s expansion to the east were absolutely ignored.”

Mr Putin said: “And now let us see where the NATO military infrastructure is: it is located right near to our borders while missile defence systems have been deployed in Romania and Poland and they can be easily employed, considering that MK-41 launchers stationed there can operate as strike complexes.”

On Wednesday Russia sent a signal to NATO with a series of military exercises in the Black Sea involving 10 aircraft plus ships.

The fleet is based in Crimea, which Moscow annexed from Ukraine in 2014. Kiev wants Russia to hand it back, something which appears unlikely as things stand.

Speaking on Friday, Mr Stoltenberg said NATO was keeping tabs on what he called “large and unusual concentration of Russian forces” close to Ukraine’s border.

He added: “It is urgent that Russia shows transparency about this military build-up, de-escalates and reduces tensions.”

 

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