By Ellie-Louise Style
Over the past few days, the Russian troops on the Eastern border of Ukraine are estimated to be roughly 100,000.
There are growing concerns that the conflict between the two countries will start to escalate quickly. This is the largest number of troops that have been in the area since 2014 when Russia seized Crimea.
The conflict between the Russia-backed separatists in Eastern Ukraine began after the events of Crimea in 2014. Since then over 14,000 people have died.
The West is becoming very concerned over Russia’s actions. Angela Merkel made a phone call to Vladamir Putin on Thursday and urged him to “scale down the military presence” and “de-escalate” the situation.
However, Mr Putin accused Ukraine of making the tensions in the East worse.
In Moscow, there are concerns for the separatists in Eastern Ukraine. Mr Kozak, the Deputy Head of Russia’s Presidential Administration, has said that the current situation there is similar to Srebenica. Srebrenica was a small village in Bosnia-Hercegovina and in 1995 8,000 Muslim men were killed by the Bosnian Serb forces, but it has not been recognised as a genocide.
He stated to the BBC: “If, as our president says, there is a Srebrenica there, we shall probably have to come to their defence.”
Donbas’ senior commander has said that if an attack is going to happen then it’s likely to be in mid-May. Russia has also deployed a navy war-fighting fleet today that is heading for Ukraine and should be arriving within just a few days.
It’s not just Merkel who is on high alert, Whitehall has said that there is a “growing concern” and they are as well on “high alert” over the situation. While the US has said that they are also “increasingly concerned.”
The Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelenskiy travelled to the Eastern Front near Donbas, wearing a bulletproof vest and helmet while in the trenches. He said to the soldiers: “Thank you for keeping people calm and defending our land. You are a true example of heroism and dedication. We remember every warrior who died defending our state.”
He added that an escalation would be “the beginning of the end of Ukraine…It would mean shooting itself not just in the foot, but in the head.”
He went on to say that there would be a new round of Ukraine discussions on the 19th of April.
Mr Zelenskiy strongly encouraged NATO to quicken his countries request for membership in the western military alliance. He said this would be the only is to put an end to this conflict.