VLADIMIR Putin has vaccinated 80,000 Russian troops ready to "end" Covid-riddled Ukraine as the fear of war grows.
Russia is massing huge military firepower on its western flank near the Ukrainian border as an "all-out war" could erupt within days.
A new video emerged today of a deadly BUK missile system on manoeuvres in Voronezh region.
Other hardware and troops continue to pour into the region from as far afield as Siberia – where there was a show of military strength was in Yurga.
While Russia’s civilian vaccination rollout has been sluggish, Putin has overseen a massive effort to jab his military forces ahead of their deployment on Ukraine’s frontier.
This comes as coronavirus cases are spiralling in ailing Ukraine with a warning of up to a record 30,000 new cases a day in the coming week, as it faces acute problems obtaining vaccines.
Kyiv's mayor Vitali Klitschko today demanded a national lockdown as cases swirled.
Putin’s Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu claimed this week: "Over 425,000 personnel have received the first component of the vaccine."
In addition “more than 370,000 service members have undergone a full course of vaccination.”
They were injected mainly with Russia's Sputnik V vaccine for which military personnel were given priority.
Russia today warned Ukraine against provoking fresh hostilities in pro-Putin rebel-held eastern regions known as Donbass.
"The Kremlin fears that a civil war will resume in Ukraine,” said his spokesman Dmitry Peskov.
“And if civil war and full-scale hostilities resume near our borders, this will pose a threat to the security of Russia,"
As tension increases, the US is to send two warships two warships through the Bosphorus to the Black Sea next week.
Brittany Stewart, the US defence attache in Kyiv, today travelled to the eastern Ukrainian war zoneto assess the situation on the ground.
The deputy chairman of Russia’s upper house of parliament Konstantin Kosachyovclaimed Ukraine was aiming "to begin a military operation” in the rebel-held east.
He claimed Russian troop movements were “has the only goal of preventing a Ukrainian military operation”.
The aim was "the prevention of a conflict, rather than its instigation”, he claimed.
It's been reported senior British commanders and Whitehall officials are on now “high alert” amid the simmering crisis and are said to be monitoring the escalating situation “with growing concern.”
One source told the Mirror: “Aggressive Russian troop movements towards the border have caused a great deal of concern within the Ministry of Defence.
“The situation is being monitored constantly. I would definitely describe this as a growing crisis.”
It was originally thought any attack from Russia would come next month, but now the full might of Vladimir Putin's military machine is expected to close in on the Ukraine within days.
A fleet of Russian warships is already heading towards the Caspian Sea armed with artillery and other weapons to back up Russia's "battle ready" land units.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov today said the situation in the region is becoming "explosive".
He told reporters it was "very unstable… creating risks of full-scale combat operations."
The increased threat also comes after one of Putin’s most senior officials, Dmitry Kozak, threatened its neighbour would not survive if Russia took military action.
"I support the assessment that … the start of military action – this would be the beginning of the end of Ukraine," said the deputy head of Russia’s presidential administration.
Kozak insisted that Russia would not act unless Kiev attacked first, but added any military action by Moscow would be "not a shot in the leg, but in the face."
Tensions have soared in eastern Ukraine in recent weeks after Putin ordered tanks, helicopters and military units to the border.
The Russian leader insists the military build up is defensive and that upcoming drills are part of routine "combat readiness" inspections.
Spetsnaz special forces troops and elite paratroopers are among the units now stationed at the tinderbox zone.
Tens of thousands of Ukrainian troops have been called up to protect the border and US advisers are believed to be “in country,” say sources.
Chilling images have also emerged which are said to show powerful nuclear cannons being sent to the region.
At least six 2S4 Tyulpan self-propelled mortars – capable of firing warheads 12 miles – were filmed on a flatbed train in southwest Russia earlier this week.
It's reported American intelligence experts now grade the worrying situation as a “potential imminent crisis”.
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