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Senior Ukrainian security official says Russia is preparing for ‘maximum escalation’ in war

Oleksiy Danilov gives an interview in his office in Kyiv, Ukraine, on December 24, 2021. (Sergei Supinsky/AFP/Getty Images)

Russia is preparing for a “maximum escalation” of the war in Ukraine, possibly as soon as possible, in the coming weeks, a senior Ukrainian national security official has said.

“These will be decisive months in the war,” Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, told Sky News in an interview broadcast on Tuesday.

“I am aware that the main fights are yet to come and will happen this year, two or three months from now,” he said.

“Russia is preparing for maximum escalation. He’s pulling everything together, doing drills and training. When it comes to offensive from different directions, as of now, I can say that we are not excluding any scenario in the next two to three weeks.”

Ukrainian officials have for some time warned of a renewed Russian offensive and have called for more powerful weaponry from Western allies to counter the threat.

Following Danilov’s comments, a Ukrainian military spokesman said on Wednesday that there are signs that Russia is preparing for a new offensive in southern Ukraine.

“Not only on land, but also at sea and in the air,” Natalia Humeniuk, press officer of the United Coordination Center of the South Ukrainian Security and Defense Forces, said on national television.

Ukrainian intelligence had noted changes in the activity of Russian naval forces in the Black Sea, it added.

“It waxes and wanes rapidly, and the missile carriers are moving back and forth,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Belarusian Defense Ministry said on Tuesday that it will hold another week of joint military exercises with Russia.

“During the week, the military representatives of the two countries will practice joint planning for the use of troops based on previous experience of armed conflicts in recent years,” the ministry said in a statement.

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