Ukraine’s president Petro Poroshenko has urged Ukraine’s parliament and military to prepare for a full-scale invasion from Russia. The BBC reports:
Russia has denied that its military is involved in Ukraine, but Mr Poroshenko said 9,000 of its troops were deployed.
Clashes involving tanks took place in two areas west of Donetsk on Wednesday.
There was a “colossal threat” that large-scale fighting would resume, the president told parliament in Kiev.
The outbreak of violence, in the government-held towns of Maryinka and Krasnohorivka, was among the worst in eastern Ukraine since a ceasefire was signed in Minsk in February.
International monitors from the OSCE said that in the hours before and during the fighting around Maryinka a large amount of heavy weapons was spotted moving towards the contact line in rebel-controlled areas.
In his annual address to parliament, Mr Poroshenko warned of a “colossal threat” from the rising violence.
“Ukraine’s military should be ready for a new offensive by the enemy, as well as a full-scale invasion along the entire border with the Russian Federation,” he said. “We must be really prepared for this.”
More than 6,400 people have been killed in eastern Ukraine since the conflict began in April 2014 when rebels seized large parts of the two eastern regions, following Russia’s annexation of the Crimea peninsula.
Mr Poroshenko said Ukraine had 50,000 troops in the east who were able to defend the country.
What he described as the Kremlin’s “plan to sow separatism in south-eastern Ukraine” had failed, he added, and only persisted in areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions because of “Russian bayonets”.