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Russia moves fleet of attack helicopters to Ukraine border as Biden warns Putin of ‘swift and severe costs’ of invasion

RUSSIA has moved a fleet of attack helicopters to its border with Ukraine further raising fears of an invasion.

The deployment comes after Joe Biden warned Vladimir Putin of “swift and severe costs” after claims Moscow is planning to invade its neighbour within days.

Russia has deployed attack helicopters to the Ukraine border
East2West
Video shows the helicopters being moved to new positions[/caption]
East2West
Deployment of the aircraft has heightened war fears[/caption]
AP
An attack helicopter taking part exercises near the Ukrainian border[/caption]

New intelligence now suggests Russia will invade Ukraine this Wednesday, February 16, according to German newspaper Der Spiegel.

Information received by the Secret Service, CIA and other intelligence services has even gone as far to outline the routes that individual Russian units will take, along with the roles they will play, it reports.

Video showed choppers massing in the in western Belgorod region just 19 miles from Ukraine in one of the most ominous invasion signs yet seen.

Similar aircraft were seen at the same site in 2014 when Moscow intervened in the Donbas and annexed Crimea. 

Startling videos show Ka-52 Alligators, Mi-8s and Mi-24 military attack helicopters on the move in multiple locations in western Russia.

They were spotted are seen in Belgorod, Nizhny Novgorod region, Tver, Ulyanovsk and  Yaroslavl amid suspicions they are being moved to the Ukraine war zone.

Bloody conflict still looms after a crunch phone call between the two presidents ended in deadlock with 130,000 troops on the border.

The leaders talked for one hour and two minutes – but made no real progress amid intelligence reports that Putin will trigger a bomb blitz and ground invasion on Wednesday.

Afterwards the White House said: “President Biden was clear that, if Russia undertakes a further invasion of Ukraine, the United States together with our allies and partners will respond decisively and impose swift and severe costs on Russia.

“President Biden reiterated that a further Russian invasion of Ukraine would produce widespread human suffering and diminish Russia’s standing.”

Leaving the door open to further talks, the US leader said he was prepared to engage in diplomacy while being “equally prepared for other scenarios”.

The Kremlin said it would pause to review US and Nato responses to its proposals for security guarantees before announcing its next actions.

The Russian president has made the impossible demand that Ukraine should never be allowed to join western alliance Nato.

Putin aide Yury Ushakov accused the U.S of “artificially whipping up hysteria around an alleged Russian plans for the invasion, even providing the dates of such an invasion”

He added: “Conditions are being created for the Ukrainian armed forces to take provocative actions amid allegations about an ‘invasion.’ This is how we view the situation.”

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US military equipment and soldiers inside in a temporary base in Poland[/caption]
EPA
Satellite images show Russian forces massed near the border with Ukraine[/caption]
Getty
The Russian and Belarusian armed forces take part in a military drill in Belarus[/caption]
AFP
Ukrainian tanks are preparing to resist any Russian invasion[/caption]
PA
A British family arriving at Gatwick airport after returning from the Ukraine[/caption]

Ushakov went on to say “attempts have been going on for months to raise tensions around the movement of our troops on our territory”.

The Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis told Sky News that Nato was determined “Ukraine should be allowed to continue as a democratic country” without the threat of invasion.

“We have to be realistic with Russia having 100,000 troops on the border, an imminent incursion by Russia is entirely possible.”

“We want to see a diplomatic outcome to this. It may well be that Putin is testing the boundaries where he can go.

“The UK has been leading the way of that alliance together to tell Russia this is not something we will tolerate.

“I spent most of last week in the US, what is very clear is that if Russia takes action there will be repercussions.”

Russia began pulling its diplomats out of Ukraine’s capital Kiev yesterday in the clearest sign yet that an invasion was on the way.

It is said to involve pounding Kiev, a city of 2.9million people, from the air while ground troops surge across the border, risking massive civilian casualties.

TROOPS MASSED

Air, rail and road transport is likely to be targeted nationwide, the US believes, along  with the power grid to black-out the country. 

Military satellites yesterday detected more massive troop movements towards the Ukrainian frontier, suggesting an imminent push.

Huge columns of vehicles and men were seen in Valuyki, western Russia,  heading south towards the Ukraine border ten miles away.

Russia moved  “atomic cannon” that can fire nuclear shells to Veselaya Lopan in Belgorod, also ten miles from the border.

More than 30 tactical exercises involving the Russian Navy’s Caspian flotilla, backed by helicopters and troops, will ramp up tension near Ukraine’s southern border from today.

Britons urged to flee the region began arriving back in the UK today, as families with newborn babies remained trapped..

British ambassador to Ukraine Melinda Simmons was remaining with a “core team” in Kiev, but some embassy staff and their families were being withdrawn.

Western leaders have threatened Moscow with a damaging package of sanctions in the event of a further incursion into Ukrainian soil.

Ukraine is not a Nato member and allies in the defence alliance have said they would not join fighting in Ukraine, but have bolstered forces in neighbouring nations and are threatening widespread sanctions.

Though the Kremlin insists it is not planning an invasion, US intelligence suggests Russia could fabricate a “false flag” pretext to attack.

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken spoke to his counterpart Sergei Lavrov before the Biden and Putin’s head to head.

“I spoke with Foreign Minister Lavrov today to urge a diplomatic resolution to Russia’s unprovoked military build-up around Ukraine,” Blinken tweeted.

“I reiterated that further Russian aggression would be met with a resolute, massive, and united Transatlantic response.”

Their talks come after US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said Washington believes Putin could strike any day.

Mr Sullivan said an attack would likely begin with aerial bombing and missile strikes, which would shut down transportation by air, rail, and roads.

IMMINENT THREAT

It was previously widely believed Russia would not attack before the end of the Winter Olympics on February 20 but the latest intelligence reports have cast doubt on that.

Pentagon said it would send 3,000 combat troops from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, to Poland to join 1,700 troops assembling there.

Last night, Brits were warned to leave Ukraine immediately as the imminent threat of war loomed.

And civilians in Ukraine were attending open military training following reports that some 200,000 fully equipped Russian troops were on its borders.

The besieged country has increased exercises amid fears an invasion may come “at any time”.

Earlier this week, Boris Johnson said the continent stands at the “most dangerous point” since World War Two after flying to Poland to meet with leaders.



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