Apr 10, 2021 12:20 UTC
  • Russia warns of full-scale war in Ukraine’s east amid tensions with Kiev

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has warned of a full-scale war in eastern Ukraine amid heightened tensions with Kiev.

In a news briefing on Friday, Peskov raised the alarm about the resumption of an all-out conflict in Ukraine’s east and expressed Russia’s determination to prevent Kiev from using force to try to retake the separatist-controlled region of Donbass.

Peskov told reporters that Moscow had the right to move its forces across the war-hit territory at its discretion and was simply taking precautions given the “dangerous, explosive region at its borders” with eastern Ukraine.

The Kremlin spokesman warned that the situation on the contact line was extremely unstable and said, “The dynamics…create the danger of a resumption of full-scale hostilities.”

Describing the border region as a “powder keg,” Peskov defended the Russian military buildup in the flashpoint area and said Russia “will not stand aside” if it believes hostilities could lead to “mass civilian casualties.”

Media reports showed that Russian tanks, rocket artillery, and short-range ballistic missiles have been transported to just 150 miles from Ukraine, where Moscow has established a large new military base.

Dmitry Kozak, a Russian presidential aide who serves as the country’s top negotiator with Kiev, earlier warned Ukraine against using force to retake control of Donbass.

Such a move would mark “the beginning of an end for Ukraine,” he said, adding that Russia would act to protect its citizens.

As fears grew over a major escalation between Moscow and Kiev, Ukraine announced on Friday that it would not launch an offensive against pro-Russian forces controlling the volatile region in the country’s east.

The United States, France and Germany have called on Russia to halt the troop buildup on the borders with Ukraine, and reaffirmed their support for Kiev in its confrontation with Moscow.