Russia - Ukraine tensions on the increase

Ukraine has accused Russia of building up hundreds of troops near the border, with violence spreading in the Donbass region.

Video Transcript

DIANA MAGNAY: At a railway station just South of the city of Voronezh, there's a small military camp. The ground's all cut up. A lot of kit's been moved through here recently. It's ended up at this much larger field camp just down the road. Seems to be a pretty big operation that they've got going on here, and that we've driven right into the middle of

The Ukrainian border is about 170 miles Southwest. The Russia-backed separatists republic's in Eastern Ukraine where there's been a pick up in fighting in recent weeks, a further South still. So it's strange to bring a lot of troops here.

There's always been a military base here. But it is massively expanded in the last few weeks. From the satellite imagery, there are more than 500 military vehicles currently based here. From us just driving past, it would appear that there are even more. You can see how they used the local facilities, the local playground, to do the training exercises.

Just exercises is Russia's stated rationale for moving more troops into Crimea into the border with Ukraine than at any time since 2014 at the height of the Ukrainian war. They're coming from far and wide across Russia. From the 76 on these number-plates, you can tell these are troops from the Central Military district, at least 700 miles further East.

Watering her plants at her [? Dacha ?] right next door, Nina says Ukraine's president should watch his step.

NINA: You need to ask someone at the top. Ask Zelensky. What's he thinking? He said, "I'm not a fool". If he's not a fool, then nothing will happen. If he's a fool, anything could happen.

DIANA MAGNAY: President Zolensky visited the frontline this week as Germany's chancellor asked Vladimir Putin to unwind his military build up. Russia says, what it does on its soil is its business. But it's threatened the end of days if Kyiv steps up what the Kremlin calls, Ukrainian aggression against the separatist regions where Russia has now supplied passports to more than 400,000 people.

DMITRY KOZAK: The beginning of military actions is the beginning of the end of Ukraine. It's a self-inflicted wound, a shot not in the leg but to the head. If the Srebrenica massacre takes place there, as our President said, we will have to stand up to their defence.

DIANA MAGNAY: So what's Russia up to? Coercive diplomacy or a Prelude to war?

MAXIM SAMORUKOV: If you want to start a war, you don't warn everybody in advance, you don't waste weeks in discussions moving troops ostentatiously or making statements and warnings. That's not-- at least, that's not the Kremlin's style of waging war.

DIANA MAGNAY: If these are signals, then they're hard to read. But what's clear is that Russian troops are ready for whatever the Kremlin plans. Diana Magnay, "Sky News" near Voronezh, Russia.