Russia's ambassador to the UK Andrei Kelin has warned that Ukraine wants a bloodbath - and Russia is ready to respond with force. This comes as Andrew Marr grilled Mr Kelin on the huge number of Russian troops amassing on its border with Ukraine. The BBC host suggested that this "looks like the beginning of an invasion" to many observers.
Mr Kelin claimed that Russia were not looking for war, but insisted "Russia will respond if Ukraine starts a bloodbath".
Eastern Donbass is under the control of Russia-backed rebels, and Moscow has warned that attempts to attack these rebels from Ukraine would see a military response from Russia.
Mr Kelin told the BBC: "We are moving troops to tell Ukraine that there will be a price if they decide to advance on this territory and make a bloodbath on it."
He insisted that the number of troops on the border, understood to be a tenth of Russia's entire armed forces, were a "normal military exercise".
He added: "Inside the Ukraine, on the line of demarcation between the self-declared republics of Donbass and others, there are 60,000 Ukrainian troops and this build-up continues."
Mr Marr followed up: "But you will have seen the videos of what is being moved to that border and it's not simply troops.
"It is tanks and field hospitals and long-range communication. This looks like the beginning of an invasion."
Mr Kelin pointed out that "NATO wants to assemble 30,000 troops on the border of Russia and Ukraine, also assembling tanks, vehicles, and so on".
He continued: "We need to be prepared for that, and the Russian army is prepared for that."
When the BBC host said the scale of the troop deployment "sounds and looks quite aggressive and ominous," the Russian ambassador said: "If Ukraine starts a bloodbath, Russia will respond."
This comes as a five-nation alliance known as the Quint – the UK, US, Canada, Lithuania and Poland – is backing Ukraine and stated that it would “continue to call on Russia to de-escalate”.