NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg warned Friday of the “real risk for a new armed conflict in Europe” as Russia has increased its troop presence around Ukraine.

Iran PressIran News: Russia on Friday prepared to hold new military exercises near Ukraine's borders amid renewed escalations which fears an invasion of the ex-Soviet state.

Moscow has around 100,000 troops stationed close to Ukraine's frontier, and Western leaders have scrambled to hold talks with Russia fearing an attack.

"There is a real risk for a new armed conflict in Europe. The number of Russian troops are going up, and the warning time is going down," NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg told reporters after visiting the Mihail Kogalniceanu base near the Black Sea with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis.

On Friday, the Russian defense ministry said 400 of its troops would Friday participate in a "tactical exercise" in the southern Rostov region bordering Ukraine.

The ministry said its Black Sea Fleet also held drills in a separate statement, including training on "searching and destroying ships of a mock enemy."

Moscow is also holding live-fire drills across Belarus, a Moscow ally that borders Ukraine and the European Union.

While western leaders have been shuttling to Moscow to keep the lines of communication open, Russia accused the West of "gorging" Ukraine with weapons.

"It is coming from all sides, and it is done publicly. It is done demonstrably. Not entirely clear why," Russia's Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said Friday.

Shoigu also said that Moscow's ties with London were at a low point as he met with UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace for rare talks amid soaring tensions over Ukraine.


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