Pro-Russian rebels order troop mobilization amid invasion fears

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Pro-Russian rebels order troop mobilization amid invasion fears

KYIV: A separatist leader in eastern Ukraine ordered a full military mobilization Saturday, a move that comes amid a spike in violence in the war-torn region that the West fears could be used as a pretext for an invasion by neighbouring Russia.

Denis Pushilin, the head of the pro-Russian separatist government in the Donetsk region, released a statement Saturday announcing a full troop mobilization and urging reservists to show up at military enlistment offices.

The announcement came as a mass evacuation of women, children and the elderly from the rebel-held territories in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions to neighbouring Russia was underway.

Biden sure Putin will invade Ukraine

On Friday, U.S. President Joe Biden said he was now “convinced” Russian President Vladimir Putin has decided to invade Ukraine and assault the capital.

After weeks of saying the U.S. was not sure if Putin had made the final decision, Biden said that his judgment had changed, citing American intelligence.

Pro-Russian rebels order troop mobilization amid invasion fears

In one of the worst post-Cold War crises, Russia wants to stop Kyiv from joining NATO and accuses the West of hysteria, saying it has no plans to invade, while the United States and allies are adamant the military build-up continues.

Warning sirens blared in Donetsk and Luhansk on Friday after rebel leaders there announced the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of people to Russia.

Biden told reporters at the White House, “we have reason to believe the Russian forces are planning to and intend to attack Ukraine in the coming week, in the coming days,” adding that Kyiv would be a target.

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