Ukraine’s president has said his country is being threatened by a “big war” amid warnings by the White House that an invasion could begin “at any time”.
Volodymyr Zelensk said he had noted reports that Russia could launch an attack on Wednesday but announced February 16 would be a day of unity, the BBC reports.
“We are being threatened with a big war and the date of the military invasion is set again,” Mr Zelensky said in the statement.
“This is not the first time. But our state today is stronger than ever.
“We want peace and we want to resolve all issues exclusively through negotiations.”
He praised Ukraine’s army and said it is “many times stronger than eight years ago” when Russian-backed separatists began an uprising.
Meanwhile, White House principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre has warned that the continuing Russian troop build-up could see an invasion start within hours.
“We’re seeing new Russian forces have been arriving at the Ukrainian border every day.
“As we have said before, we’re in the window when an invasion could begin at any time,” she said.
The US has announced it is relocating its embassy operations in Ukraine from the capital Kyiv to the western city of Lviv.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the move was necessary due to the build-up of Russian forces.
Kremlin ‘open to diplomatic solution’
The Kremlin has signalled it is ready to keep talking with the West about security grievances that led to the current Ukraine crisis, offering hope that Russia might not invade its neighbour within days as the US and Europe increasingly fear.
Questions remain about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s intentions, however. And countries around Europe are evacuating diplomats and on alert for possible imminent war amid the worst East-West tensions since the Cold War.
US intelligence indicates Russia is clearly advancing its ability to invade at any time, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said.