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The Daily Vertical: Putin Ups The Ante (Transcript)

Russia appears to be doing everything possible to make us all believe an all-out invasion of Ukraine is imminent.

Troops and heavy weapons have been moved to the north of occupied Crimea, near the Ukrainian mainland.

Moscow has also positioned troops in Bryansk, to Ukraine's north and near Rostov, to Ukraine's east.

Additionally, Russian troops are reportedly holding military exercises with pro-Moscow separatist forces in Moldova's breakaway Transdniester, on Ukraine's western border.

So don't look now, but Russia has basically surrounded Ukraine with battle-ready forces.

And the Kremlin has also ratcheted up its bellicose rhetoric.

WATCH: Today's Daily Vertical

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov this week vowed that Russia would take "exhaustive measures" in retaliation for an alleged plot by Ukraine to carry out terror attacks in occupied Crimea.

It should be added that few outside of Russia believe such a terror plot ever existed.

So what's going on here? Is Russia preparing an all-out invasion of Ukraine?

Or is all this just another psy-op?

Who knows? To answer that question we would need to get inside Putin's head.

And as we all know, that is a very dark place where it is difficult to see anything.

But Putin can't be happy with how things have gone in Ukraine.

Despite the annexation and occupation of Crimea, despite more than two years of war in the east, and despite constant pressure and intimidation from Moscow, Kyiv has remained defiant.

So Putin has apparently decided to up the ante. He's apparently decided to reset the conflict.

So we shouldn't rule anything out.

Keep telling me what you think on The Power Vertical's Twitter feed and on our Facebook page.

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