By any standards, the drumbeat of growing tensions between Russia and Ukraine this month has been especially ominous.
It began as Russian President Vladimir Putin accused Kiev of embracing the “tactics of terror,” after Russia claimed to have caught Ukrainian saboteurs in Crimea. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko put troops on alert and warned that the country might have to move toward martial law and mobilization if the conflict in the east or Crimea escalated.
Russia is now set to hold large military drills in the region next month. And in eastern Ukraine, the use of heavy weapons between Russian-backed separatists and the army has increased as opposing trenches have crept so close that opposing fighters can shout across the breach.
Analysts say tensions are at their highest since the signing of what are known as the Minsk agreements in February 2015.