Our request to speak with Putin unanswered: Ukraine President’s spokeswoman

"The Office of the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky asked to talk to Russian President Vladimir Putin about the escalation of the conflict in eastern Ukraine, but has not yet received an answer," Julia Mendel, spokeswoman for the President of Ukraine, announced on Monday.

"Russia has concentrated more than 40,000 troops on the eastern border with Ukraine and more than 40,000 troops in Crimea," Ms Mendel told Reuters agency, adding that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will head to Paris to talk about the concentration of Russian troops and the escalation of the conflict in Donbas.

"The President's Office has obviously asked to speak to Vladimir Putin," Julia Mendel stated. "We haven't received an answer yet, and we very much hope this is not a refusal of dialogue," she stressed.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Monday that he knew nothing about "requests for this in recent days."

According to military expert Alexander Golec, one should not panic, but remain vigilant, because Russia has shown in the past that it has no restraints from breaking international regulations and standards.

The Russian analyst also drew attention to the smaller number of Russian troops gathered near the Ukrainian border less than 7 years ago and argued that this time it was not about war, but about a demonstration of force.

He stressed that, given Russia's extremely cool relations with the West, the only possibility left for Moscow for exerting pressure is to threaten war.