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Members of the Ukrainian territorial army were pictured training with wooden guns yesterday – as the might of the Russian army massed on their border.
Her plea comes amid heightening tensions in the region after Moscow stationed more than 100,000 troops near the Ukrainian border.
Preparing for battle: Territorial army volunteers were training with wooden rifles in Ukraine’s capital, Kiev
Yesterday, Ms Truss tweeted: ‘Russia is waging a disinformation campaign intended to destabilise and justify an invasion of its sovereign neighbour Ukraine.
‘Russia must halt its aggression, de-escalate and engage in meaningful talks.’ She added the hashtag ‘stand with Ukraine’.
On Friday, the US said it had intelligence that Russia was planning a ‘false flag’ operation by sending troops into Ukraine who would carry out acts of sabotage on their own forces as a pretext for war.
‘The operatives are trained in urban warfare and in using explosives to carry out acts of sabotage against Russia’s own proxy forces,’ one official said.
Getting ready: Ukrainian soldiers fire an anti-tank missile in a military exercise this week as the country prepares for a possible invasion
US National Security adviser Jake Sullivan suggested Russia used the same strategy when it occupied Crimea in 2014.
But the Russian embassy in Washington angrily dismissed the claims, saying: ‘As usual, there is no evidence.’ Despite the denial, Russia pressed ahead with live firing exercises.
Ukraine also accused Russia of being behind a massive cyber-attack on dozens of official websites on Friday.
Firepower: Russian troops carry out trials on tank weapons which may be used in Ukraine
Russian hackers were alleged to have left threatening messages on government websites.
Tensions remain fraught despite a week of diplomatic talks. Russian demands for a veto on former Soviet states joining Nato and a removal of Western troops from eastern Europe have been dismissed by the UK and US.
Tobias Ellwood, Tory chairman of the Commons Defence Committee, suggested President Vladimir Putin had ‘negotiated himself into a corner’ and an invasion of Ukraine was ‘inevitable and imminent’.
Yesterday, the Daily Mail revealed that RAF spy planes had started surveillance flights in the region to monitor Russian troop movements.