Ukrainians hope for thaw as Russian talks continue

ITV News Correspondent Dan Rivers reports from western Ukraine, where soldiers are already training with weapons from Britain

There seems to be a slight thaw in the air in Kyiv.

The snow and ice is beginning to melt and pool into dirty puddles along the cobbled streets of this stunning city. Diplomatically too, there are suggestions that perhaps the talks in Paris involving Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany might be yielding a more positive tone. The fact the face-to-face meeting in the Élysée Palace lasted eight hours gave some a cautious reason to be optimistic. Afterwards, Ukraine and Russia agreed to honour the Minsk ceasefire agreement in the east of Ukraine, even though the Kremlin’s man in this latest diplomatic session admitted the talks were "not simple".

All the while Russia’s military build-up continues along the northern and eastern borders of Ukraine. Polished Russian military videos show trains being loaded with vehicles and equipment, and live fire exercises being conducted on land and sea.

The latest estimates put the concentration of Russia’s troops at 130,000 - short of the 175,000 most military analysts think it would need for a full scale invasion, but enough to worry the Americans and British, who have continued to warn an incursion of some sort could be "imminent".

The US has put 8,500 troops of a notice to "prepare to deploy" to eastern Europe, to bolster Nato’s eastern flank.

Russian military vehicles conduct drills in the southwestern Rostov region, which borders the Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk in a video released by the Russia's Defence Ministry

British anti-tank missiles have also been sent to Ukraine where they are being tested by Ukrainian soldiers. The curious thing is, that amid all these worrying  developments, in Kyiv there seems no alarm and relatively little belief a war really is going to happen.

Shops and restaurants are open as normal; there is no panic buying or stockpiling. People here have had eight years of thinking about the threat Russia poses and many seem to find it difficult to accept President Putin really would invade with all the terrible consequences which could flow from that. Instead they are hoping this thaw lasts a few more days and that with the milder air, perhaps slightly less frosty rhetoric will continue to emerge from the Kremlin and the White House.