Ukraine on high alert as Russia plans ‘major escalation of war’
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President Volodymyr Zelensky’s top military aide has warned the most intense fighting is still to come in Ukraine. Oleksiy Danilov, Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine, also warned the next few weeks and months will be key in determining how the war plays out.
He requested western countries to send more armaments, including British Typhoon fighter jets from the Royal Air Force and other fighter planes from other nations.
Mr Danilov told Sky News in Kyiv: “Russia is preparing for maximum escalation,
“It is gathering everything possible, doing drills and training.”
He left open the possibility that Vladimir Putin will attempt a similar attack from the north, south, and east as he did on February 24, 2022 – perhaps even on the anniversary itself.
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Mr Danilov said: “We do understand everything is on the table… I can say that we are not excluding any scenario in the next two to three weeks.”
The defence official claimed that Ukraine’s military was ready for anything and that this time around, western allies like the UK were supporting it substantially more than they were a year ago.
“Those countries who help us in our struggle have started to provide us maximum help,” he told Sky News.
Both Ukraine and Russia are believed to be building up their arsenals for an expected offensive in coming months.
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The war has been largely deadlocked on the battlefield during the winter.
Both Russian and Ukrainian forces are thought to have suffered more than 100,000 casualties each in the course of the 11-month conflict, Western officials have said.
One official said that while the numbers of dead and wounded appeared to be similar on both sides, the Russians are thought to have sustained a higher proportion of fatalities.
“I would say the ratio is different on each side. The Russians have been attacking and that means they have suffered more fatalities than the Ukrainians have, on balance,” the official said.
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Meanwhile, Rishi Sunak has determined after completing a review that a “prolonged stalemate” in the war in Ukraine would benefit Russia and therefore supports accelerating support for Kyiv.
Giving an account of Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “He said since becoming Prime Minister he had reviewed the UK’s approach and concluded that a prolonged stalemate in the conflict would only benefit Russia.
“Which was why he had decided there was an opportunity to accelerate UK support working closely with our allies to give Ukraine the best chance of success and make the most of the window of opportunity where Russian forces were on the back foot.
“He said the new strategy would also see greater diplomatic efforts and planning work with the Ukrainian on how to rebuild once the conflict had ended.”
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