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Putin massing fighter jets for ‘aerial attack on Ukraine’

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Putin is feared to be preparing a new aerial attack on Ukraine with Western military analysts worrying that a build-up of Russian aircraft at the border means Russia will intensify their attack in the Donbas. It comes as NATO defence ministers are gathering to talk about strategies for providing military assistance to the war-ravaged nation in a two-day summit at Brussels.

Jens Stoltenberg, the head of NATO, instructed the member nations of the military alliance to increase their shipments in order to enable Ukraine to resist Russian aggression, given the risk of Europe running low on ammunition.

He added: “We see no signs that President Putin is preparing for peace. What we see is the opposite, he is preparing for more war, for new offensives and new attacks.”

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky recently toured London, Paris and Brussels as part of efforts to convince allies to arm Kyiv with fighter planes.

The request, which comes as the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion approaches, is the latest plea from Mr Zelensky to Western allies.

The UK is set to become the first nation to start training Ukrainian pilots on NATO-standard aircraft, but the Government has indicated that any possibility of Britain lending jets to Kyiv is a long-term prospect.

Mr Wallace, who met with his Ukrainian counterpart Oleksii Reznikov on Tuesday, said that Western allies would continue to “stand in solidarity” with the war-torn country.

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“I am very pleased to be back at NATO to continue the vital work to support Ukraine, as well as meeting with my defence counterparts.

“Our important work is ongoing, the UK and our Allies will stand in solidarity with Ukraine for as long as it takes,” he said.

The meeting also comes amid the backdrop of fresh tensions with China after the US shot down four balloons flying in its airspace this month, with Washington declaring one of them to be a piece of Chinese spyware.

Mr Wallace has been charged with reviewing the UK’s own security measures in the wake of the incidents.

Downing Street also confirmed on Tuesday that Rishi Sunak will travel to Munich this weekend, joining fellow world leaders for a conference on international security.

Last year’s conference, held just before Russia invaded Ukraine, was dominated by concerns over the prospect of conflict in the region.

British military chiefs have declared that Putin’s troops have been commanded to advance in “most sectors” but are struggling to achieve a major breakthrough on the Ukrainian front line.

The Ministry of Defence said on Tuesday that the Russians have “not massed sufficient offensive combat power” on any one axis to “achieve a decisive effect”.

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