Russia deploys tanks, snipers & bombers to Ukraine as Putin trying to ‘provoke return fire’ as world holds breath

RUSSIA has deployed tanks, snipers and bombers to Ukraine as Vladimir Putin is trying to "provoke return fire," Kyiv has said.

It comes as Putin went on ahigh-stakes call with Joe Biden earlier today amid growing fears Moscow is preparing for a massive offensive against Ukraine.

Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov told CNN that there would be a "really bloody massacre" if Russia decides to invade Ukraine and warned that "Russian guys also will come back in the coffins."

The defense minister also said that five million Ukrainian refugees are fleeing into Europe amid heightened alarm about troop movements on the nations' border.

"The red line is here in Ukraine and the civilized world will react without hesitation."

He also said ahead of the two presidents' meeting: "If I can advise President Biden, I would like him to articulate to Mr. Putin that no red lines from the Kremlin side should be here. The red line is here in Ukraine and the civilized world will react without hesitation.

"The idea of not provoking Russia will not work."

Russian news agencies released a video of the first few minutes of the call.

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The meeting between the two was reportedly supposed to be a tense call as Biden was expected to warn Putin that Russia will face stiff economic sanctions if it invades Ukraine.

Putin was expected to demand guarantees from Biden that the Nato military alliance will never expand to include Ukraine, which has long sought membership.

Meanwhile, UK Foreign Minister Vicky Ford has warned the cost of Russia invading Ukraine would be “catastrophically high” and said Putin needs to “de-escalate now”.

Addressing MPs, she said: “Any military incursion by Russia into Ukraine would be a strategic mistake.

“The Russian government should expect significant strategic consequences. The costs of an incursion would be catastrophically high.

“Let us be very clear, we stand by Ukraine and we are considering an extension of purely defensive support to Ukraine to help Ukraine defend itself.”

“Putin needs to de-escalate now and return to diplomatic channels,” she added.

Fears of war have been growing in the region as Russia has ramped up its war games in recent weeks.

Last week US intelligence detected 175,000 Russian troops on the border with Ukraine as fears of a potential invasion in early 2022 are mounting.

According to the official the analysis is partly based on satellite images that “show newly arrived units at various locations along the Ukrainian border over the last month.”

Meanwhile, Moscow claimed its fighter jets intercepted a US spy plane that was flying over the Black Sea.

Russia has denied that it plans to attack Ukraine.

Kiev's allies have always pledged to support them, but intervening against Russia could risk spiraling into a conflict that could explode into World War 3.

Russia has been demanding Ukraine will not join NATO and raging the US must stop all military activity in the region.

Moscow has previously warned war is "highly likely" saying that Kiev's desire to retake Crimea is a "direct threat" to them.

Putin has also ordered US officials to leave Russia – further stoking tensions.

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