Russia state TV claims takeover of Donbass ‘inevitable’ as UK plans to send warships to Black Sea by next month

RUSSIAN state TV has claimed that the takeover of Ukraine's border region was "inevitable".

New footage from the "propaganda" media empire RT appears to show more troops joining a potential strike force

Videos today showed troops and military vehicles in the regions of Krasnodar, Kursk, and Volgograd, and elsewhere.

RT chief Margarita Simonyan claimed the West’s behaviour on sanctions – led by America “like some kind of a raging Santa Claus on antidepressants or opiates” – acted as an incitement to the Kremlin to gain full control of the Russian-speaking Donbass in eastern Ukraine. 

“Moreover, I think that this gift is inevitable,” she said on Rossiya 1 Tv.

"I dearly hope that it will cost only a little blood, or that it will be bloodless like with Crimea – but this is a medical fact that it is inevitable.”

The broadcaster also claimed that Western sanctions are helpful to Russia since they led to the rapid modernisation of the country’s agriculture. 

Meanwhile, British warships will set sail for the Black Sea in May amid tensions between Ukraine and Russia, the Sunday Times reported.

The deployment is to show solidarity between the UK's NATO allies and Ukraine.

In another call, patriotic blogger Sergey Kolyasnikov urged that ex-Soviet state Belarus should be fully integrated into Russia.

His demand was "liked" on social media by prominent TV host Vladimir Solovyev, on whose show Simonyan was appearing. 

It comes as the Russian ambassador to the UK has warned of a “bloodbath” in Ukraine.

Andrey Kelin said Moscow had “no intention” of a large-scale military conflict despite tensions soaring between the two countries.

Mr Kelin denied that Moscow wanted a military confrontation with Kiev – but stressed that a response was inevitable if Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy sent troops to the Donbass region.

Kiev and Moscow have blamed each other for rising clashes in the eastern Donbass region, where Ukrainian troops have battled Russian-backed forces in a war that Kyiv claims have killed 14,000 people since 2014.

In the past month, Vladimir Putin has amassed tens of thousands of troops and weaponry on the Ukrainian border – prompting fears of a military escalation.

Mr Kelin told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: “If the Ukrainian government decide to move troops into the Donbass – to make a bloodbath there and to kill Russians – then of course we are going to respond.”

But asked if he believed Russia and Ukraine were on the verge of war, he added: “I don’t think so.”

Recently Kiev has been making desperate calls to be offered full NATO protection from Putin's forces.

There have been demands that Germany atone for "Nazi crimes" against Ukrainians by playing a role in the country alliance membership.

"Germany in particular, as a country that bears special historical responsibility for Nazi crimes against the Ukrainian people, must play a leading role in order for Ukraine to become a NATO member,” the Ukrainian ambassador to Berlin Andriy Melnyk told Welt am Sonntag Sunday newspaper.

“And as quickly as possible, with no ‘ifs’ or ‘buts’."

This came as reports today said Britain is to send a Type 45 destroyer armed with anti-aircraft missiles and an anti-submarine Type 23 frigate to the Black Sea next month.

RAF F-35B Lightning stealth jets and Merlin submarine-hunting helicopters will stand ready on the Mediterranean task group's flagship, HMS Queen Elizabeth to support the warships, reported the Sunday Times. 

The deployment is aimed at showing solidarity with Ukraine.

"The UK and our international allies are unwavering in our support for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity", the newspaper quoted an MoD spokesman as saying.

During the last “hot” conflict in the region, a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 – flight MH17 – was shot out of the sky by pro-Moscow rebels, killing 298 people, in July 2014.

The provocative show of force comes as new videos indicate Russia continues to mass its military might close to the Ukrainian frontier. 

Some 50 Russian fighters, bombers and attack aircraft were due to be involved in “exercises over the Black Sea”, reported Interfax, in a move only likely to exacerbate tensions.

Taking part are Su-27SM and Su-30SM fighters, Su-24M and Su-34 bombers and Su-25SM3 attack aircraft, reported Interfax.

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