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Russia preparing for ‘maximum escalation’, top Ukrainian security official tells Sky News

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Ukraine is preparing for a major escalation by Russia – possibly even in the next two to three weeks, the Ukrainian president’s top security official has said.

Ukrainian servicemen are seen, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Bakhmut, Donetsk region, Ukraine January 27, 2023. REUTERS/Yan Dobronosov

Ukrainian servicemen are seen, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Bakhmut, Donetsk region, Ukraine January 27, 2023. REUTERS/Yan Dobronosov© Reuters

Oleksiy Danilov, Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine, told Sky News that the hardest fighting was yet to come and said the next few months would be crucial in deciding the course of the war.

He urged western allies to send more weapons, including Royal Air Force Typhoon jets from the UK and fighter aircraft from other partners.

Oleksiy Danilov speaks to Sky News

Oleksiy Danilov speaks to Sky News© Sky News Screen Grab

Russia is preparing for maximum escalation,” Mr Danilov said in an interview on Tuesday at his headquarters in the capital Kyiv.

“It is gathering everything possible, doing drills and training.”

He did not rule out the possibility that President Vladimir Putin attempts another attack from the north, south and east, as happened on 24 February 2022 – maybe even to coincide with the anniversary.

Ukrainian servicemen are pictured amid Russia's attack in Bakhmut, Donetsk region

Ukrainian servicemen are pictured amid Russia’s attack in Bakhmut, Donetsk region© Reuters

“We do understand everything is on the table… I can say that we are not excluding any scenario in the next two to three weeks.”

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He said that Ukraine’s military was preparing for all possibilities and this time around had significantly more support from western partners such as the UK than 12 months ago.

“Those countries who help us in our struggle have started to provide us maximum help.”

A western official, however, said that they had not seen sign yet of Russia planning anything specifically for 24 February.

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“We will continue to monitor that,” the western official said in a briefing to journalists.

“Traditionally they [Russia] have tried to do things on dates. The Ukrainians come from a similar culture as well in that regard, but I haven’t seen anything from either side to suggest they do have plans afoot.”

Skyreports

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