Written by Staff Writer
A Ukrainian gunboat sails off the country’s border with Russia. Credit: Vitaliy Kolesnikov/AFP/Getty Images
Tensions are rising on Ukraine’s eastern border with Russia and the western Ukrainian port city of Mariupol could be on the point of falling to Vladimir Putin’s forces.
Military tensions in Ukraine have run high for years but the “fiery” situation in the east is the worst since 2014.
Military personnel from Kiev’s volunteer Hryvnia 13 unit enter Kirovograd International Airport as Ukraine launched a large-scale attack against Russian forces on the border. Credit: RYAN KOWALCZYK/AFP/Getty Images
At the same time there is a complicated political situation in Kiev where a new “presidential election” in October could result in unconstitutional “cynical manipulations,” said EU enlargement commissioner Johannes Hahn in a recent podcast.
Presidential candidate Vitali Klitschko in eastern Ukraine on August 3, 2012. Credit: DANIK KVARNAK/AFP/Getty Images
Violence between Kiev’s military and Russia-backed separatists has escalated markedly in recent months. Around 1,000 Russians have been killed in the east since the 2014 protests that ousted then-President Viktor Yanukovych.
In the Ukrainian capital Kiev, clashes between right and left-wing protesters have been increasingly common this year.
Ukrainian border guards relax during the military exercise “KIA-19 in the Black Sea.” Reuters
More than 6,000 servicemen are currently stationed on the border with Russia, according to Polish military newspaper International Herald Tribune. The newspaper reported in June that over 30,000 troops were preparing for a war against the Kremlin, with Moscow planning a mass invasion from four “columns.”
Ukrainian Armed Forces are on high alert for a possible invasion of Ukraine by a large force of Russian soldiers. Credit: Goran Tomasevic/AFP/Getty Images
Moscow has denied that it is involved in the conflict and blamed the violence on the Ukrainian military. Russia and Ukraine both controlled the two autonomous regions of Donetsk and Luhansk until 2014.
Mariupol could be targeted by a major Russian military offensive as Ukrainian forces attempt to retake the region. Credit: Atalaya Troopska/AFP/Getty Images
US and European officials have warned of Russian aggression, despite Moscow’s denials.
The EU recently expanded sanctions on Russia as it continues to say the east of the country is in danger of slipping into “a dark and dangerous” period.