Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says he fears that Russia could use massive military manoeuvres next week as a cover for invasion.
In a major speech, Mr Poroshenko said Russia’s Zapad-2017 exercises with Belarus might be “a smokescreen to create new Russian army assault groups to invade Ukrainian territory”.
Russia says 13,000 troops will take part in Zapad, on 14-20 September.
Russian-backed rebels have carved out a swathe of territory in eastern Ukraine.
The Kiev government accuses Russia of supplying regular troops and sophisticated heavy weaponry to the rebels. Moscow denies any direct involvement, while admitting that Russian “volunteers” are helping the rebels.
“There are no signs that Moscow is ready to pull out of Donbas or Crimea,” Mr Poroshenko said in his state-of-the-nation address.
“But unfortunately there is more and more proof of its preparations for an offensive war on a continental scale.”
Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula in March 2014, triggering international sanctions. Special forces in …
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