A warning has been issued over a new Cuban missile crisis in Ukraine after the Russian leader Vladimir Putin demands NATO to take the situation seriously.
There are increasing fears that the country could be invaded if the West fails to deal with Russia’s security demands.
This came amid a new round of major military exercises by Putin’s troops in an evident bid to warn NATO ahead of the new year.
Videos showed the latest Russian drills, with some close to Ukraine’s border, amid fears Putin is ready to invade.
Sergei Ryabkov, deputy foreign minister of the Russian Federation, denied he was exaggerating in comparing the current crisis to the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.
“No, not too much," he said in an interview with Mezhdunarodnaya Zhizn magazine when asked if his comparison was "too much".
There are fears war could erupt between Russia and Western-ally Ukraine in the coming weeks.
Ryabkov appeared to rule out a Russian compromise on seeking cast-iron guarantees that Ukraine would not join NATO and promises not to deploy strike weapons in eastern European countries which are members of the western alliance.
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"I call on everyone considering this topic publicly to think whether it is shameful for Russia to meet Western ultimatum demands halfway," Ryabkov said.
And he made it clear that "if we cannot do it [through diplomacy], then open questions will emerge: what are further steps and what should we do?
"We are against escalation, we are against conflicts, we do not draw lines in the sand, just the logic itself leads us to say that we are not ready to make peace with the current situation."
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Exercises in Russia’s western military district involved drills to repel a massive airstrike by a simulated enemy on strategic facilities of the district, according to TV Zvezda, owned by the defence ministry.
Around 1,000 servicemen took part in the war games which included "repulsing an attack by enemy reconnaissance and sabotage groups".
Weapons deployed were modern anti-aircraft missile systems S-300V, Tor-M2 and portable anti-aircraft missile systems Igla, said reports.
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Footages also appeared to show the Buk-M3.
The video showed the war games, said reports, which came despite an announcement that some 10,000 troops have left the Ukrainian border area ahead of Russia’s ten-day New Year holiday.
Ryabkov insisted: "We must put an end to the expansion of NATO, NATO infrastructure, NATO capabilities further east.
"We must exclude Ukraine from joining NATO."
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