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The build up of Russian troops on the border of Ukraine threatens to lead to the outbreak of war in Europe as US intelligence reports suggest Vladimir Putin could launch a series of missile attacks by Wednesday.
Over 130,000 troops have massed on the border and Russia has refused formal requests to explain the build-up of soldiers.
Moscow could order aerial bombardments 'at any time' and follow it up with an invasion according to the US, with citizens of other countries encouraged to leave Ukraine at the earliest opportunity to avoid the risk of being caught up in a potential war.
While foreign citizens have been encouraged to leave Ukraine, many locals are preparing to fight for their homeland as Ukrainian special forces have offered training to civilians.
Among those learning to fight in the face of potential Russian invasion is 79-year-old Valentyna Konstantynovska, who told AP she was 'ready to shoot' if Putin sent troops over the border.
She said: 'I'm ready to shoot. If something happens, I will defend my home, my city, my children.
'I will do this because I think I'm ready for it. I don't want to lose my country, my city.'
Pictured holding an AK-47, the 79-year-old is one of thousands of ordinary civilians currently taking part in basic combat training organised by Ukraine’s National Guard.
The Daily Mail reports that defence minister James Heappey believes it is still possible to avoid a conflict but that 'we are closer than we've been on this continent' in the last 70 years to the possibility of war.
Britain has promised further economic support to Ukraine and Russia has been warned that it faces harsh sanctions from several countries if Putin takes the decision to invade Ukraine.
Defence secretary Ben Wallace will be meeting with NATO counterparts in Brussels this week to discuss what response the alliance will have to a Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Meanwhile, The Pentagon has said the situation is not 'moving in the right direction' following a phone call between Putin and US president Joe Biden, who promised the US would respond 'swiftly and decisively' to Russian aggression.
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