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'Nobody knows where Russia would stop' after Ukraine invasion, warns ex-Ukrainian president

Former Ukraine president Petro Poroshenko has warned that “nobody knows where Russia would stop” if it invaded his country.

Mr Poroshenko told Sky News that Poland, the Baltic states (Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia), Czech Republic, Romania or Bulgaria could be in Vladimir Putin‘s sights in future.

He said that unity and solidarity with Ukraine was “vitally important” and his country was doing its best to bring peace, as an estimated 150,000-190,000 Russian troops, depending on reports, amass near the border.

Russia denies it plans to invade and says the forces are there for military drills.


Live updates on Ukraine crisis as satellite images reveal new Russia deployments

Mr Poroshenko, who was president from 2014 to 2019, claimed the only way to provide security for Ukraine would be for it to have membership of the European Union and NATO in future – which Russia is strongly against.

The former leader insisted Ukraine was standing “shoulder to shoulder” with the US, UK and European allies to solve the current crisis by diplomatic means.

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But he said there was a “clear picture of a hybrid war” from the Russians.

He said there was a “fake evacuation of people, fake campaign with shelling from the Ukrainian side, fake penetration through the Russian border. This is not a Ukrainian crisis. This is Russian aggression”.

Read more: Putin’s plan for invasion has ‘already begun in effect’, warns No 10

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Priest says Ukraine would fight

It comes as the Mr Putin gathered senior officials to consider recognising the independence of Russia-backed separatist regions Luhansk and Donetsk, in eastern Ukraine, which broke away from Kyiv’s control in 2014.

The meeting of the Russian presidential security council will likely increase Western fears that Russia could invade Ukraine at any moment, using skirmishes in eastern areas of the country as a pretext for an attack.

More than 14,000 people have been killed since conflict erupted in Donbas (which includes Luhansk and Donetsk) in 2014, shortly after Moscow annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula.

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Still time for Putin to ‘pull back’, Blinken says

Mr Poroshenko said Mr Putin should “pay the price” for those thousands of deaths and more sanctions should be brought in to “stop” him.

Read more:
As warnings of war grow, fear is also being felt in neighbouring Poland

Kyiv volunteers stock emergency shelters amid warnings of imminent invasion
How big is Russia’s military – and how does it compare with Ukraine?

He said that ordinary Ukrainians have been buying weapons and if Mr Putin invades, then “every single city town would be held for Russian soldiers” and it would be the bloodiest war since World War Two in Europe.

Mr Poroshenko said the Russian president would be a “war criminal” who, he predicted, would be “responsible for dozens of thousands of lives in Ukraine” being lost.


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