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Militants of Russia-controlled “republics” in full battle readiness, Ukraine intelligence chief says.

Militants of the Russian-controlled Donetsk and Luhansk “People’s Republics” brought their troops to the highest level of combat readiness, the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine reported.

It said that on 1 December, operational and combat exercises with troop rotation began in the occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk "People's Republics," under the command of the 8th Guards Combined Arms Army of the Southern Military District of the Russian Armed Forces.

According to Ukrainian intelligence, the enemy is strengthening its units on the frontlines and intensively training the artillery and mortar units of the army. Probably, they will intensify the shelling of the positions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the Intelligence Directorate stated.

The same day, 3 December, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said in his address to Ukraine's Parliament that a major Russian military escalation is possible, according to data by Ukrainian intelligence.

“The most probable variant envisages (Russia) reaching the point of readiness for the escalation by the end of January,” Reznikov said.

In the event that this happens, Russia might employ a total of 94,300 troops concentrated in the region.

Earlier, on 22 November, Ukrainian intelligence reported that militant troops had begun training against the background of a possible invasion of Russian troops into Ukraine. Journalists of RFE/RL later established the exact location of the test site where Russia is training militants of the "Donetsk People's Republic" based on geolocated videos from the exercises that the militants posted online.

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