Russia war fears: Why Vladimir Putin is sparking fear around the world

Russia: Owen Jones on 'violation of international law'

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Russia is reportedly planning a January invasion of Ukraine, according to military intelligence from around the world. The nation has denied these accusations, but fearing a threat from the country, Ukraine is in a race to upgrade its navy and fine-tune its military response. But why is everyone so worried about Russia?

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Russia has ramped up military drills in the Black Sea, which is located south of Ukraine.

The nation said it needed to carry out these drills to sharpen the combat-readiness of its conventional and nuclear forces because of heightened NATO activity near its borders.

It is thought Russia will likely invade Ukraine, according to recent military intelligence.

Ukrainian commander Kyrylo Budanov, the head of Kyiv’s defence intelligence agency, laid out the scale of Vladimir Putin’s attack involving an estimated 100,000 soldiers.

Russia’s recent actions appear to be made in preparation for an invasion.

The increase in military activity on both sides comes after weeks of rising tension.

NATO and the US have signalled their support for Ukraine, such as through warship manoeuvres and delivering US patrol boats to the US Navy. These actions have been deemed as provocative and antagonistic by Moscow.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss issued a warning to Russia on Wednesday, saying it would be a “grave mistake from Russia” for the country to attack Ukraine.

The latest comments came after the Foreign Secretary last week criticised Russian President Vladimir Putin and called on him to intervene in the ongoing migrant crisis at the Poland-Belarus border.

Writing in the Telegraph, she said the UK would not look away as Belarus used “desperate migrants as paws” in a “carefully crafted crisis”.

In response, Russia’s Foreign Minister spokeswoman Maria Zakharova took aim at Britain, blaming the UK for the crisis.

She said: “The British invasion of Iraq was carefully crafted.

“Britain bears a clear historical responsibility for everything that has happened in the region since – the deaths of Iraqis, the destruction of Iraqi statehood, the endless flows of refugees, the emergence of ISIS, the humanitarian disasters in this part of the world.”

Russian figure plans and ships practised repelling air attacks on naval bases and responding with air assaults during military drills conducted on Wednesday in the Black Sea, according to Interfax news agency.

Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said the drills and the drive to expand the nation’s armed forces was dictated by “the complicated military and political conditions in the world and the growing activity of NATO countries near Russia’s borders”.

He added it was a priority in Russia to raise the armed forces’ capabilities, supporting the combat readiness of nuclear forces, and strengthening the potential of non-nuclear deterrence.

Mr Shoigu complained about US bombers undertaking nuclear attack rehearsals on Tuesday.

He said the drills outlined two attacks on Russia, from different directions, and he complained the planes had come too close to the border.

The Pentagon has denied these claims and said the drills were in adherence to international protocols.

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Ukraine also conducted a “special operation” on Wednesday as tensions with Russia escalated.

The exercises involved in the “special operation” included drone exercises and anti-tank and airborne unit military drills.

The nation has dispatched 8,500 additional troops to its border with Belarus in response to the ongoing migrant crisis.

Kyiv also worries that the border with Belarus, a close Russian ally, could be used by Russia to stage a military assault.

Intelligence sources claim Moscow may use the escalation of tensions with Ukraine as part of a wider plan to exert pressure across Europe to push forward with rapid regulatory approval of its Nord Stream 2 pipeline to Germany.

All of these actions are believed to be part of Mr Putin’s wider plan for Soviet expansion, according to some experts.

British armed forces chief General Sir Nick Carter last week warned the UK should be prepared for war with Russia as the Poland-Belarus tensions escalate.

The outgoing head of the UK’s armed forces said the military should be ready for war. But he did not believe the Russian leader would want “hot war” with the west.

Instead, Sir Nick said Russia desired a “hybrid playbook where you link disinformation to destabilisation and the idea of pushing migrants on to the European Union’s borders is a classic example of that sort of thing”.

He added it was most likely that the Belarus and Ukraine border situations were “classic distraction” tactics from the Russian Government of the type which had been going on “for years and years and years”.

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