Russia has warned Ukraine that a resumption of hostilities against pro-Russian separatists in the east would be catastrophic for Ukraine.
Ukraine accused Russia of sending soldiers and weapons to help rebels launch a new offensive in a conflict that has killed more than 4,000 people. Increasing violence, ceasefire violations and reports of unmarked armed convoys travelling from the direction of the Russian border have boosted fears that a shaky truce signed in September could collapse.
Moscow denies accusations it sent in troops and tanks in the past few days and says the ceasefire, as outlined by the Minsk Protocol, is the only way out of the conflict. “[The collapse of the ceasefire] must not be allowed... It would be catastrophic for the situation in Ukraine,” said Russian foreign ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich.
The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which is monitoring the ceasefire, has reported several columns of unmarked soldiers and tanks travelling away from the Russian border. Zoryan Shkiryak, an aide to Ukraine’s interior minister: “The likelihood of another possible invasion by Russian troops of Ukrainian territory is high... it could happen at any moment.”