UK & World News
Crisis Places Ukraine Military In Spotlight
Russia's action in Crimea has exposed Ukraine's military capabilities to fierce scrutiny, with many asking if it has the resources to respond to an unfolding conflict.
Moscow's foreign minister Sergey Lavrov and his US counterpart John Kerry are due to discuss the ongoing crisis in London today.
But it comes after 24 hours that have seen Ukraine's parliament vote to establish a 60,000-strong National Guard with the aim of helping to protect the borders.
A mass mobilisation of army reservists is well under way, but resources are already an issue in the crumbling economy.
In a cafe in capital Kiev, Ivan Zhekov accepts cash from people who have responded to his online campaign to raise money for the military.
He set up the 'Support the Ukrainian Army' fund after hearing troops at his local base near Kiev had not been fed.
The first thing he did was go to the supermarket himself and fill one trolley with bread and another with a frozen pig and deliver it himself to the base.
He then decided to set up a major drive to get more help.
"Since the mobilisation was announced, the number of personnel at military bases increased by two, three, four times," he said.
"So the citizens of Ukraine have to get up and help the army. They have the military things, it is everyday life things they need.
"People really have to understand that the state is not ready to support the army."
Since its launch last week, enough money has come in to allow volunteers to deliver not only food to military bases but walkie-talkies to troops in Crimea.
The region will hold a referendum on Sunday on whether to become part of the Russian Federation.
But Mr Zhekov is not worried that the Ukrainian forces will not be up to the fight if the vote triggers conflict. He believes attitude is just as important.
"The army and equipment is not all it takes," he said.
"You also have to account for the people, their attitude, their spirit and their goal. And we only have one big goal: freedom. This is our biggest value."
Even seasoned army generals like Mykola Malomuzh acknowledge that attitude matters in any conflict.
He insists the Ukrainian forces are highly trained and, with a huge reserve force, would be able to sustain a presence over a long period.
But he says the early stages of any conflict with Russia would present challenges.
"I believe that at the first stage we would have problems, because the Russian army is better organised and has major military experience," he said.
"We do need more high tech equipment and practical knowledge"
But he is confident that a large-scale conflict can be averted. Not least because Russia itself is not ready for it.
"According to our intelligence data, Russia is not ready for an offensive," he said.
"We really believe we can avoid a scenario of conflict in Crimea."
While he says that generally the army is well equipped, there have been issues getting resources to Crimean forces and the military has no time to play with.
The referendum is just days away - an event which everyone hopes won't lead to Ukraine's fire power having to be put to the test.