A FULL-SCALE invasion of Ukraine by Russia cannot be ruled out and an increasingly powerless Europe looks unable to stop it, the country’s president has warned.
Petro Poroshenko said the Kremlin was growing more aggressive but that the European Union’s declining strength risked allowing Vladimir Putin to demonstrate his military might.
He warned that the migration crisis and terrorist attacks had rocked the EU and that the continent’s power brokers were now more willing to compromise with the Kremlin.
Ukrainian MPs have previously voiced fears that Brexit vote could weaken support for Kiev.
And Brussels is divided over whether to continue punishing Russia with sanctions or ease off to boost the economy of both sides.
Mr Poroshenko said: “Ukraine will continue to need strong international support in the fight against Russian aggression.
“Securing this support is becoming increasingly difficult for our diplomats due to different objective and subjective factors.”
Speaking at the opening of the September parliament session, he added: “Over the course of the next year, political forces could come to power as a result of elections in several European countries that may not be extremist, but are inclined to compromise with the Kremlin.
“Europe still speaks with one voice, but there are also countries where the Russian accent is already too audible.”
His stark warning follows the start of a major military exercise involving annexed Crimea and Russia’s Black Sea and Caspian fleets.
More than 12,000 troops are taking part in the Caucasus 2016 drills, which will run until the weekend.
Armoured units, infantry and paratroopers are being deployed in war games held across Russia’s entire southern military district which will test commanders’ ability to plan, prepare and conduct military action and to coordinate different types of troops.
Tensions between Ukraine and Russia spiked in August after Russia accused Ukraine of planning attacks in Crimea.