Ukraine’s closest neighbour readies for war – conflict to erupt for first time in decades

Russia: Putin ‘will not stop at Ukraine’ says Liz Truss

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War preparation is in full swing both within and around Ukraine a day after world leaders acknowledged that recent military aggression from Russia constituted the start of an invasion. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has sent troops to the eastern region, towards the shared border with Ukraine. Hungarian Defence Minister Tibor Benkő said: “Protecting our borders is as important as preparing for humanitarian action.”

In addition to protecting the country against possible invasion, Mr Benkő also believes that his nation must prepare for a possible wave of refugees.

He added: “The Hungarian armed forces have two tasks: one is to provide humanitarian aid and the other is to close Hungary’s borders and ensure that no armed groups can enter the country.”

A government spokesperson supported this move and restated Hungary’s commitment to protecting Ukrainian independence.

The spokesperson explained: “The Prime Minister said that Hungary, as it has always done, fully supports the territorial sovereignty and independence of Ukraine and will participate in any joint EU action to mitigate the conflict.”

Meanwhile, Poland has approved a draft “national defence law”, which will allow it to rapidly reinforce Polish forces in neighbouring Ukraine.

If passed by parliament, the bill will speed up the pace of defence spending increases.

In the Czech Republic, Army Chief Aleš Opata warned that “developments in Ukraine indicate that we will not be in a safe place for years to come”.

“We should not behave as if we are not affected by the crisis in Ukraine,” he added.

Amid rocketing threat, the Army Chief lamented that NATO is not satisfied with the Czech army’s slow pace of modernisation or its failure to purchase tracked armoured combat vehicles.

The contract for these vehicles was significantly delayed due to the new government’s budgetary changes, which Mr Opata said was a “mistake” before calling for the government to accelerate improvements to defend themselves and their neighbours.

The rallying of support comes after Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called up the country’s reservists and warned that Ukraine could face a battle for its existence.

Countries including the UK, US and Germany announced tough financial sanctions on Russia after declaring they believed the Kremlin was on the brink of a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

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Mr Putin sharply escalated already high tensions when he announced Russia will formally recognise two Ukrainian regions as independent.

Within hours, the Russian Parliament approved the President’s request to send troops abroad.

The move follows days of warnings by the US and others of the possibility of an imminent Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The US has estimated that Russia has up to around 190,000 personnel in and around Ukraine – military action perceived as a direct threat.

If a military escalation were to take place, Ukraine would likely need to rely on the support of its neighbours and the West due to Russia’s military might.

Russia has around 280,000 army personnel plus an additional 34,000 separatist forces in Donetsk and Luhansk.

The combined total is more than twice as many as Ukraine’s 145,000 personnel.

On Tuesday night, the US sent hundreds more soldiers to neighbouring Baltic states to help defend Ukraine should an attack be launched, along with a fleet of Apache helicopters.

In a rallying speech of support, President Biden assured: “We want to send an unmistakable message, that the United States together with our allies and will defend every inch of NATO territory.”

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