Vladimir Putin “wants to circle Europe with Iran and China” in an axis that could spark WW3, with his troops already piling pressure on Ukraine.

Moscow’s Ministry of Defence announced on Thursday that Russian forces intend to hold naval drills in the Atlantic, Arctic, Mediterranean and the Pacific this month, catching the attention of the US and UK.

The worrying war games follows the news that Russia look set to invade neighbouring Ukraine, with 100,000 ready at the border and Kyiv preparing for the move.

Deputy Russian Defence Minister Alexander Fomin claims the purpose of the drills is to protect national interests in the oceans and to “protect the interests” of Russia and its ally Belarus.

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Warships are seen during a joint naval exercise of the Iranian, Chinese and Russian navies in the northern Indian Ocean yesterday

He said: “The goal of the exercise is to fine-tune the tasks of suppressing and repelling external aggression during a defensive operation, countering terrorism and protecting the interests of the Union State (Russia and Belarus).”

The drills will be executed in two phases, with the first lasting until February 9, the Belarusian Defence Ministry said.

German tabloid newspaper Bild reported yesterday that the Kremlin is once again increasing the military pressure on the West by exercising a manoeuvre that has already begun with China and Iran in the Gulf of Oman south of Iran.

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According to information from Moscow, this exercise should last until next Saturday.

“The exercises extend to the seas bordering Russian territory and to operationally important areas of the world’s oceans,” the ministry said.

A warship and a helicopter attend the joint naval exercise
A warship and a helicopter attend the joint naval exercise

In addition to the North Sea, the Sea of Okhotsk in the Arctic and northern areas of the Atlantic were also mentioned.

At the same time a “Russian offensive to encircle Ukraine’s capital city of Kyiv now looks like a realistic possibility,” according to the Wall Street Journal.

“We are in the midst of Europe’s most dangerous moment in decades. Bomb-shelter signs are again going up in Kyiv. Civilians are banding together to defend their hometowns,” the title’s reporter in Kyiv reported.

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A US Government website yesterday released a fact sheet on ‘Russian Disinformation on Ukraine,’ stating that Moscow instigated the current crisis by placing more than 100,000 troops on the border of Ukraine, with no similar military activity on the Ukrainian side of the border.

The United States and Great Britain are providing military aid to Ukraine, and anti-tank weapons also arrived at Kiev airport on Thursday. The Russian Foreign Ministry called this a “provocation”.

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