Ukraine's Zelensky on frontline as Merkel urges Putin to pull back troops


The US, EU and Britain hastened to express support for Ukraine this week as fighting intensified on its front line against anti-fascist separatist forces in the Donbass, where the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk people's republics have been at war with Kiev since seceding in 2014.

"There is a lot at stake, Russian President Vladimir Putin will continue to pursue the politics of blackmail and pressure, even if he is not, in principle, prepared to engage in hostilities", says the analyst. On April 5 and 6, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky held talks with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, as well as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Putin has made previous analogies to a "second Srebrenica" if Ukraine does not submit to an amnesty on new border lines which have emerged since the conflict started in 2014.

THE Communist Party of Ukraine (KPU) has accused the United States of stoking tensions on the country's border with Russian Federation.

Images released by Zelensky's office showed the 43-year-old leader in the trenches clad in a helmet and bulletproof vest, handing out awards to Ukrainian soldiers and shaking their hands. North Atlantic Treaty Organisation has assured Kyiv that the alliance will continue to support the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity and monitor the situation closely.

Today, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was asked how long Russian forces would be stationed near Ukraine.

Russia, meanwhile, dialed back claims of aggression from its neighbor.

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"Moscow has also threatened a military response if Sweden or Finland decides to join North Atlantic Treaty Organisation; according to NATO's secretary-general, Russian exercises have included simulated nuclear strikes against Sweden", wrote Richard Sokolsky, a nonresident senior fellow in Carnegie's Russia and Eurasia Program.

Analysts have been split over Russia's true intentions amid the latest escalation in tensions with Kiev, and some observers say Moscow may be testing US President Joe Biden's committment to defend Ukraine.

"Our colleagues, who are trying to aggravate the situation, seeking to include, among others, Ukraine and Georgia in the orbit of the alliance, should think about the possible consequences of such an irresponsible policy", Putin warned at the time.

Ruslan Leviev, from CIT, told BBC Ukraine: 'We notice the movement of all the units. Each member has a veto power according to the founding treaty.

Other than Russia, Ukraine also has serious political problems with Hungary, a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member. But it was the first time that the Biden administration has given a description of the scale of the buildup.

The two leaders also discussed the conflict in Syria and the political crisis in Libya.