Russia has issued a warning to the US to keep its warships away from Crimea “for their own good” and accused them of turning the region into a “powder keg”, as tensions and hostilities continue to rise at Ukraine’s border.
The US has deployed two warships to the Black Sea and reiterated that the US “stands firmly behind” its European ally, while NATO has announced plans to support Ukraine and begin its “air policing mission”.
Ukraine has also called up it’s reserve army to its border with Russia after Russian leader Vladimir Putin deployed tens of thousands of military forces and war equipment on the border of Ukraine, and in the strategic Black Sea.
A service member of the Ukrainian armed forces is seen at fighting positions on the line of separation from pro-Russian rebels near Donetsk.
Up to 85,000 Russian troops, thousands of tanks, missile trucks, armoured vehicles and long-range guns have been deployed to Ukraine’s borders while footage from Ukraine shows movement of aged military vehicles to the conflict zone, which is no match for Putin’s hi-tech tanks and missiles.
The imminent threat of an invasion by Russia comes 7 years after Russia invaded border town Crimea and annexed it from Ukraine while the US under Barack Obama didn’t defend Ukraine.
Now, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov has branded the decision by the US to deploy the two Arleigh Burke-class warships, the USS Donald Cook and USS Roosevelt, “a provocation” formulated “to test our nerves”.
The two US ships are set to arrive on Wednesday April 14 and Thursday April 15 from the Spanish naval base.
Ryabkov dubbed the US “an adversary” of Russia, while Russian controlled state TV has claimed Britain is working with Ukraine to trigger a bloody new war in Europe.
“The United States is our adversary and does everything it can to undermine Russia’s position on the world stage,” Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov was cited as saying by Russian news agencies
“We do not see any other elements in their approach. Those are our conclusions,” the agencies quoted him as saying.
“We warn the United States that it will be better for them to stay far away from Crimea and our Black Sea coast. It will be for their own good,” said Ryabkov.
Russian state TV also claimed that in a “hot war”, Ukraine would be wiped out in “two days”.
Ukraine President Zelensky reacting to the scenario unfolding between both countries says the mass deployment of ssoldiers and weapons from Russia is intimidation tactics intended to unnerve the West.
“They want the West to be frightened of Russia’s strength, of her power,” he said in a wide-ranging interview with TIME.
”There’s no big secret here.”
“What they want to do,” Zelensky said, ”is raise the temperature just enough to show that the West will waver in its support for Ukraine, that they do not really see us as a partner.”
Ukraine has renewed it’s push for NATO to immediately give it membership as threats of an attack by Russia increases .