Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday accused Russia of concentrating troops on the border with his country, and Washington warned Moscow against any attempt to “intimidate” Ukraine.
Ukrainian and American officials reported in recent days Russian troop movements near the Ukrainian border, but Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov considered that “Russia is displacing its armed forces on its territory as it sees fit” and that this “does not it represents no threat to anyone and should not be of concern to anyone. “
In a statement, the Ukrainian president accused Moscow of “trying to create a threatening environment” with “military exercises and possible provocations on the border.”
For his part, the spokesman for US diplomacy, Ned Price, warned Moscow that it must refrain from carrying out “aggressive actions [que] they intend to intimidate, threaten our partner Ukraine. “
According to Ukraine and the United States, Russian troop movements would have been detected in Crimea, the peninsula annexed by Moscow in 2014, and on the Russian-Ukrainian border, near the territories controlled by pro-Russian separatists.
After the truce in the second half of 2020, the conflict in eastern Ukraine has seen several armed clashes since January that have killed 20 Ukrainian soldiers. Both sides blame each other for the escalation.
This week, the commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian armed forces, Ruslan Jomchak, denounced a Ukrainian “threat to military security”, stating that the separatists had 28,000 fighters and “more than 2,000 Russian military instructors and advisers.”
Moscow, accused of supporting the separatists politically and militarily since the conflict broke out in 2014, has always denied having deployed troops or weapons on the ground.
Amid this atmosphere of tension, the European Union diplomatic service criticized on Thursday a military recruitment campaign launched by Russia in Crimea, considering it a “violation of international humanitarian law.”
Russia annexed Crimea seven years ago and shortly thereafter separatist groups it supports started a conflict in eastern Ukraine that continues to this day and which, according to the UN, has claimed more than 13,000 lives.