Ukrainian servicemen walk in a trench on the frontline with Russian-backed separatists, near the town of Zolote, in the Lugansk region, on April 8, 2021.
Mykhailo Samus of the Kyiv Center for Army, Conversion and Disarmament Studies, is convinced that Moscow has always been preparing for an invasion and has already begun concentrating equipment and troops along the border with Ukraine.
Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, has already signalled that Ukraine could be divided if it enters North Atlantic Treaty Organisation because pro-Russian eastern Ukraine would not accept to be part of the Western alliance.
"There is a lot at stake, Russian President Vladimir Putin will continue to pursue the politics of blackmail and pressure, even if he is not, in principle, prepared to engage in hostilities", says the analyst.
He also warned that an escalation could mark the "beginning of the end" for Ukraine - "not a shot in the leg, but in the face".
According to Landsbergis, that would be "a strong signal to Russian Federation that Ukraine's chosen transatlantic direction is appreciated and resonates among North Atlantic Treaty Organisation states".
Against the backdrop of escalating tensions in Donbas, Ukraine has reiterated its desire to join North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.
"Russia now has more troops than at any time since 2014", Psaki added, saying that five Ukrainian soldiers have been killed in the past week.
An Ukrainian serviceman digs the ground of a trench as he stands at his post on the frontline on April 8 Credit AFP
In a statement on Thursday, Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Nato's support of Ukraine "does not contribute to security" and "the settlement of the conflict". She described the situation as "deeply concerning".
Western nations have called for restraint after Ukraine raised the alarm over a buildup of Russian forces near its border and violence rose along the line between Kiev's troops and separatists in Ukraine's east. Video has emerged on social media of Russian trains moving heavy weaponry towards the region.
The situation is especially volatile in Donbass, where the ceasefire between the Ukrainian army and Moscow-sponsored breakaway territories has effectively broken down.
Images released by Zelensky's office showed the 43-year-old leader in the trenches clad in a helmet and bulletproof vest, handing out awards to Ukrainian soldiers and shaking their hands.
He said 26 Ukrainian troops had been killed since the start of the year, compared to 50 in all of 2020. "But NATO is only about membership".
In Thursday's call with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Russian President Vladimir Putin "drew attention to the provocative actions of Kyiv, which has deliberately sought to exacerbate tensions along the line of control", the Kremlin said in its readout of the call.