As Kiev's relations with Moscow have soured to their worst level in the three decades since the Cold War ended, Ukraine appeals to NATO to help deter an anticipated Russian attack.

The Kremlin annexed the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and then backed rebels fighting government troops in the east of the country.
The Kremlin annexed the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and then backed rebels fighting government troops in the east of the country. (AP)

Ukraine has urged NATO to prepare economic sanctions on Russia and boost military cooperation with Kiev to deter Russia from a renewed attack after Moscow massed troops close by.

The appeal came on Wednesday as Ukraine joined the Western alliance for talks about preventing an anticipated military operation by Russia.

"We will call on the allies to join Ukraine in putting together a deterrence package," Ukraine's foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, told reporters as he arrived for talks with his NATO counterparts in Riga.

As part of this package, NATO should prepare economic sanctions against Russia in case it "decides to chose the worst-case scenario", he said, adding NATO should boost military and defence cooperation with Ukraine.

"We are confident that if we join efforts, ... we will be able to deter President Putin and to demotivate him from choosing the worst-case scenario, which is a military operation," Kuleba said.

READ MORE: NATO: Russia will pay heavy price if it attacks Ukraine

'Severe consequences'

A former Soviet republic that now aspires to join the European Union and NATO, Ukraine has become a potential flashpoint between Russia and the West.

Any military operation that would violate Ukraine's sovereignty would be met with "severe consequences", Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod told reporters, saying Denmark was ready to engage with "heavy" sanctions.

His comments echoed those of NATO and the United States, who on Tuesday issued stark warnings to Russia that it would pay a high price for any new military aggression against Ukraine.

"Any future Russian aggression against Ukraine would come at a high price and have serious political and economic consequences for Russia," NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters.

Russia's President Vladimir Putin countered that Russia would be forced to act if US-led NATO placed missiles in Ukraine that could strike Moscow within minutes.

Kuleba also warned against a recognition of Crimea by Belarus, a close Russia ally, after Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko said the Crimean Peninsula was legally Russian territory, RIA news agency reported.

"The potential recognition of the occupied Crimea by Belarus will be a point of no return in our bilateral relations, and we will act respectively. Because for us, Crimea is not a field for compromises," Kuleba added.

The Kremlin annexed the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and then backed rebels fighting government troops in the east of the country. The conflict has killed 14,000 people, according to Kiev, and is still simmering.

READ MORE: EU, NATO vow action against threats posed by Belarus, Russia

Source: TRTWorld and agencies