Total war between Russia and Ukraine was closer than ever after a tense sea confrontation yesterday.
It came when Ukrainian diplomats warned that Moscow was conducting “the largest troop movement since World War II”.
The stalemate was in the Sea of Azov between the two nations.
Five Russian ships are said to have incited Ukrainian gunboats with “provocative maneuvers”.
The three Ukrainian ships almost opened fire on the spy ships. Andrii Klymenko, a Ukrainian commentator, said: “Our sailors had to warn that they were ready to use weapons.”
The West fears that Russian President Putin wants a little flare-up to start the war while his troops gather on Ukraine’s eastern borders.
As early as next week, 115,000 people will be ready to cross the border. The Ukrainian armed forces dig in to repel them.
Meanwhile, Kiev has warned that it could build its own nuclear arsenal if NATO’s western military alliance refuses to join it.
It had once left Soviet nuclear weapons but agreed to give them up in exchange for security guarantees from Britain, the US and Russia.
Andriy Melnik, Kiev’s envoy for Germany, said: “We will do everything possible to ensure that Putin does not attack tomorrow or the day after tomorrow.
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“We are dealing with the largest movement of troops in Russia since World War II.”
Russia is said to have installed anti-aircraft missiles in occupied Crimea, with which it can control almost the entire airspace of the Black Sea.