Ukraine crisis: Russia could be poised to invade, NATO says

Russian Armored Vehicles - Photo by Vitaly V. Kuzmin

Russia has massed around 20,000 combat-ready troops on Ukraine’s border and could use the pretext of a humanitarian mission to invade, NATO said on Wednesday, its starkest warning yet that Moscow could soon mount a ground assault against its neighbour.

With fighting escalating and rebels losing ground in the weeks since a Malaysian airliner was shot down over separatist-held territory, Russia has announced military exercises this week in the border region.

“We’re not going to guess what’s on Russia’s mind, but we can see what Russia is doing on the ground — and that is of great concern. Russia has amassed around 20,000 combat-ready troops on Ukraine’s eastern border,” NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu said in an emailed statement.

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