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Invasion fears raised after Russian troop build up on Ukraine border

PR dla Zagranicy
Peter Gentle 06.08.2014 08:13
As Russia resumes a build up of troops on Ukraine's borders, fears are growing that Moscow is mulling intervention in the east of the country after Ukraine forces make gains in the Donetsk region.

A file picture dated 14 July 2014 shows Russian President Vladimir Putin reviewing a welcome ceremony at Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil as concern grows that Russia is contemplating invasion in eastern Ukraine: photo - EPA

A UN official has said that Russia has increased troops numbers from 12,000 to 20,000 in the last few says “along entire border with eastern Ukraine”.

"They are very capable Russian regular units and can move in a matter of hours and could significantly disrupt the situation" in eastern Ukraine, the official is quoted by CNN as saying.

Poland's prime minister Donald Tusk said on Wednesday that "we have reasons to suspect – we have been receiving such information in the last several hours – that the risk of a direct intervention is higher than it was several days ago."

“Russia has restored its combat capacity along Ukraine's borders,” Poland's foreign minister Radoslaw Sikorski told the TVN24 broadcaster on Tuesday night.

“There are several battalions stationed there and a high saturation of military equipment. This can be to exert pressure [on the Ukraine government] or to act,” he said, adding that “we will find out very quickly” what Russia's intentions are.

“I strongly advise against violations of Ukraine's sovereignty,” he said.

The Ukraine government said it was preparing a “massive assault” on the rebel-held city of Dontesk, after its forces have made gains in the region over the last few says.

"On a human scale, the situation in the east -- particularly in Donetsk and Luhansk -- is disastrous,” Vitaly Churkin, Russia's ambassador to the United Nations, said Tuesday.

“Today, with all certainty, there's a need to speak about a true war," he said.

Women inspect damaged houses in Petrovka, some 20 km from Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, 05 August 2014. Much of the fighting in eastern Ukraine has been on the border with Russia, which Ukrainian government forces want to safeguard to prevent any influx of fighters and military hardware from Russia: photos - EPA/IGOR KOVALENKO

A 17-vehicle convoy of 110 experts from the OSCE is in the region examining the MH17 Malaysian plane crash site, where 298 lost there lives after the aircraft was shot down by ground-to-air missiles on 17 July.

More than 117,000 Ukrainians have left their homes and are now on the move inside the country with over than 1,000 leaving combat areas every day, according to UN estimates.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees says that more than 168,000 people crossed the border from Ukraine into Russia in the first seven months of the year. (pg)

Updated with quote from PM Tusk at 14.00 cet

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