Russia warns US to keep warships away ‘for their own good’ as state TV claims Putin could wipe out Ukraine in two days
RUSSIA has issued a stark warning to the US to keep its warships away from Crimea "for their own good" and accused them of turning the region into a "powder keg", as the Ukraine border crisis becomes increasingly hostile.
It comes as Washington deployed two ships to the Black Sea and reiterated that the US "stands firmly behind" its European ally, while NATO braced to begin its "air policing mission".
The decision to deploy the two Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, the USS Donald Cook and USS Roosevelt, was branded "a provocation" formulated "to test our nerves", by Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov.
He dubbed the US "an adversary" of his home state, amid soaring tensions with the West.
Russian state TV has even dragged MI6 into the spat, claiming Britain is conniving with Ukraine to trigger a bloody new war in Europe.
The allegations come as an apparent bizarre bid to justify Vladimir Putin massing forces on the frontiers of its close neighbour, and in the strategic Black Sea.
Viewers were also informed that in a "hot war", Ukraine would be wiped out in "two days".
NATO chief Jens Stoltenburg pledged the organisation's "unwavering support" for Kiev, regarding the increasingly volatile power struggle.
This came as latest on-the-ground videos show further bolstering of Russian positions close to eastern Ukraine and annexed Crimea, along with military exercises depicting combat readiness currently underway in several regions.
Kyiv is now claiming Moscow has doubled its military strength in the border zone amid fears of an invasion.
Up to 85,000 Russian troops, plus thousands of tanks, missile trucks, armoured vehicles and long-range guns have massed near Ukraine's borders.
It is the biggest show of force since Russia seized Crimea in 2014, triggering a conflict that claimed 14,000 lives.
Footage from Ukraine, in stark contrast, shows a Dad’s Army-style train movement of aged military vehicles to the conflict zone in the east of the country, seemingly no match for Putin’s hi-tech tanks and missiles nor a troop strength suspected now to number almost 100,000.
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