A senior Kremlin official said on Thursday that Russia could face circumstances when it needs to. protects its citizens in eastern Ukraine and that military action may follow, Reuters reported.
Russia’s deputy head of the presidential administration, Dmitry Kozak, said that “I support the assessment that … the beginning of hostilities would be the beginning of the end of Ukraine. “
The remarks came the same day as the Russian president Vladimir Putin accused Ukraine of provocative actions in the eastern region of the country during a phone call with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Putin accused Kiev of “inflaming the situation there.”
Ukraine announced on Saturday that it would hold joint military exercises with NATO troops with more than 1,000 troops from five NATO countries. It was not specified when the exercises would take place.
The Ukrainian parliament issued a statement last week announcing an “escalation” on the front, citing a “significant increase in shelling and armed provocations by the Russian armed forces.”