The American Government says they have “communicated directly, privately to the Russian at very high levels that there will be catastrophic consequences for Russia is they use nuclear weapons in Ukraine”.
It’s a sign of how high the tension is here, and how high the stakes are here.
The Ukranian Government is anxiously watching voting in so-called referendum.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told the UN Russia would offer those areas ‘full protection’ by Moscow if they are successfully annexed.
President Putin last week ordered the partial mobilisation of troops to boost his war in Ukraine.
It’s triggered protests across as many as 30 cities across Russia, with more than 2100 arrests so far according to some reports.