In the Ukraine conflict new tensions arise between the USA and Russia. After reports about the transfer of Russian troops to the border with Ukraine, US State Department spokesman Ned Price warned the Kremlin against attempts to “intimidate or threaten our partner Ukraine”. Washington was concerned “because of the recent escalation of the aggressive and provocative action by Russia in eastern Ukraine,” Price told journalists on Thursday evening (local time).
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Selenskyj had previously stated that Russia had increased its troop presence on the border with Ukraine. Moscow wanted to create a “threatening atmosphere”. Ukrainian military intelligence accused the Russian army of wanting to expand its presence in the rebel-controlled Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
“Escalating Russian Aggression”
According to Kiev, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin telephoned his Ukrainian colleague Andrei Taran. Austin has given assurances that Washington will not leave Ukraine “in the event of escalating Russian aggression,” said the Ukrainian defense minister.
Moscow and Kiev this week blamed each other for the recent increase in violence in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. According to Ukrainian sources, 20 soldiers have been killed and 57 others injured in attacks by pro-Russian rebels since the beginning of the year.
More than 13,000 people have already been killed in the conflict over eastern Ukraine. Russia rejects the allegation that it provides military support to the rebels. In July last year, the conflicting parties agreed on a ceasefire. Since mid-February, however, there has been increased fighting, which is steadily undermining the already fragile ceasefire.