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Ministry of Defence identifies Putin's seven possible routes of Ukraine invasion

The Ministry of Defence has identified seven routes via which Russian President Vladimir Putin could launch an invasion of Ukraine.

In an illustration based on satellite imagery and other intelligence sources, it is shown how Mr Putin could primarily target the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, as well as the industrial city of Dnipro.

In the new map, posted by the MoD’s official Twitter account, three possible routes of invasion are shown targeting Kyiv, while three are shown targeting Dnipro.

A seventh potential route of invasion illustrates how Russian forces could move into mainland Ukraine via the occupied peninsula of Crimea, which Mr Putin annexed in 2014.

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Alongside the map, the MoD tweeted: “Russia retains a significant military presence that can conduct an invasion without further warning.

“Below demonstrates President Putin’s possible axis of invasion. He still can choose to prevent conflict and preserve peace.”

In what are described as possible “phase two” ground movements on the map, Russian forces are shown moving on from Crimea and towards the strategically important Black Sea port of Odessa.

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They are also shown moving on from Dnipro and further into western Ukraine and towards the city of Vinnytsia.

The map identifies the main areas where Russian forces are currently assembled.

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Nursery ‘shelled’ in Ukraine

Two possible routes of invasion are shown as coming from Belarus, where Russian forces have recently been engaging in joint training exercises.

Mr Putin is one of few allies of the Belarussian government of Alexander Lukashenko, who is widely regarded as a dictator.

Defence sources stressed the map represents just one possible scenario of a Russian invasion, but that it illustrates how Russia retains a significant military presence around Ukraine.

Earlier on Thursday, the MoD once again rejected Russian claims that it was withdrawing some of its forces from Ukraine’s borders.

“Russia has claimed that some units will be returning to bases following the conclusion of drills,” the MoD posted on Twitter.

“We have seen no evidence that Russian forces are withdrawing from Ukrainian border regions. Russia could conduct an invasion without further warning.”

Both Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss on Thursday accused Russia of orchestrating “false flag” attacks in Ukraine as a pretext for an invasion.

It came as tensions continued to mount between Russian-backed separatists and state forces in east Ukraine, with shells hitting a nursery school.

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