Russia warns war with Ukraine is ‘likely’ as US vows to respond to invasion

Russia has warned war with Ukraine is 'highly likely' as forces order troops to be 'combat ready' in response to a suspected invasion.

The US has vowed to stand up to the direct threat imposed by Kiev's desire to retake Crimea as a "direct threat" as reports of a Russian invasion are growing, the Kremlin has said.

President Vladimir Putin has also ordered US officials to leave Russia immediately amid fears he plans to order an invasion of Ukraine, before the end of January, according to the Sun.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in parliament that Crimea was Ukrainian territory despite it being claimed by Moscow in 2014.

It is believed Kiev's goal was to "liberate" it, focusing on diplomatic solutions.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Moscow is worried about the possibility of a Ukrainian military move.

He said: "Speaking in parliament, Zelensky said that the return of Crimea should be the main goal and philosophy of Ukraine.

"We see this as a direct threat to Russia.

"Such wording of course means that the Kiev regime intends to use all available means – including force – in order to encroach on a Russian region.

"This is how we are leaning towards perceiving it."

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Earlier this week, the Kremlin reacted after Britain announced plans last week to send an armoured brigade back into Germany, a decade after pulling its troops out.

Russia has accused the UK of moving closer to its territory.

But in recent weeks Russian tanks have been seen moving close to the border with Ukraine. And there are fears President Putin is on the brink of ordering his forces into Ukraine.

Allied nations have responded by issuing declarations of solidarity with the Kiev government.

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Andrei Kelin, Russia’s ambassador to the UK, has now warned there is “a pretty serious risk” of war between the countries.

He said “There is a risk of war on our border. It’s pretty serious.

“There is a possibility that there is a spark and an incident can occur. Nato is stepping up its presence along the borders of the Russian federation.

"We have lots of manoeuvring now in the Baltic Sea. We have strategic aviation, with nuclear warheads, flying 20km close to the borders.”

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