Russia-Ukraine LIVE: Putin accused of staging mass evacuation as gas pipeline explodes

Ukraine: Civil defence sirens are going off in Donetsk

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US President Joe Biden declared yesterday that Russia will invade the former Soviet state – claiming that it has 160,000 troops on its border. Russia has consistently denied this – insisting instead that Ukraine and its Western allies are in fact the aggressors.

This apparent aggression has led to the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk – which are controlled by pro-Russian separatists – beginning mass evacuations to Russia.

However, Metadata of an “emergency statement” by the region’s leaders shows that it was filmed two days ago – leading to accusations it was staged.

There have also been claims that a car bombing in Donetsk and an explosion at a gas pipeline and fuel station in Luhansk are being blamed on Ukraine as an excuse to invade.

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba tweeted: “We categorically refute Russian disinformation reports on Ukraine’s alleged offensive operations or acts of sabotage in chemical production facilities.”

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Biden ‘convinced’ Putin will invade

Joe Biden said he is “convinced” Russian President Vladimir Putin has decided to launch an invasion in Ukraine.

The US President said he has “reason to believe” it will occur in the coming days and will include an assault on the capital Kiev.

Mr Biden told a press conference on Friday: “We have reason to believe the Russian forces are planning to and intend to attack Ukraine in the coming week.

“We believe that they will target Ukraine’s capital, Kiev, a city of 2.8 million people. We’re calling out Russia’s plans loudly and repeatedly.

“As of this moment, I’m convinced he’s made the decision. We have reason to believe that.”

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