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Tens of thousands of Russian troops and military hardware, including artillery, tanks, warplanes and helicopters are amassing and carrying out war games on all sides of Ukraine.

High concentrations have been spotted in Russia’s Klimovo in the north and Russia’s Belgorod in the northeast, in Russian-annexed Crimea in the south and in Moldova’s breakaway Transnistria region in the southwest, as well as sizable groups carrying out military exercises in Belarus in the north.

As a spring invasion of mainland Ukraine looms large, Yevhen Marchuk, a retired Ukrainian general and former defense minister, warned on March 27 that the crisis is intensifying, saying that Russia has now moved to the “second phase” of its plan “to eliminate” Ukraine as a nation.

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