Russia warns U.S. against deployment to Ukraine

Russia Massing Troops on Border, Ukraine Warns

This week Ukraine and the United States reported a movement of Russian troops in annexed Crimea and on the Russian-Ukrainian border, near territories controlled by Moscow-backed separatists.

"Russian President Putin said (this) not long ago, but this statement is still relevant today, that those who would try to start a new war in Donbass - will destroy Ukraine". He accused Moscow of seeking to create "a threatening atmosphere" as Kyiv hopes to resume a cease-fire brokered previous year.

According to U.S. media reports, top U.S. national security officials were in touch with their Ukrainian counterparts, and the country's top general called his Ukrainian counterpart on Wednesday amid reports of Russian military buildup near the border with eastern Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday accused Russia of massing troops on the border and Washington pledged to stand by Ukraine in the event of Russian "aggression".

"What we would object to are aggressive actions that have an intent of intimidating, of threatening, our partner Ukraine", State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters.

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said on Twitter on Friday that he had called his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba to reaffirm "UK support for Ukraine's sovereignty & territorial integrity".

Ukraine's military intelligence accused Russian Federation of preparing to "expand its military presence" in the separatist-controlled eastern regions of Donetsk and Lugansk.

Ruslan Khomchak, chief of the general staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, this week said that more than 2,000 Russian military instructors and advisers were now stationed in eastern Ukraine.

With the ceasefire over and the current Russian forces' buildup, tensions are rising sharply as Ukrainian and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation military officials believe that we face a "potential imminent crisis".

Russia Massing Troops on Border, Ukraine Warns

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that most of Ukraine's military appeared to understand the danger of a "hot conflict" in Donbas.

More than 50 battalion combat teams comprising 15,000 people will take part in those exercises and practice "interaction with electronic warfare and air defense units", the defense military told reporters.

"We are gravely concerned about Russian military activity which threatens Ukraine", he wrote.

Moscow has repeatedly denied sending troops and arms to buttress the separatists, and Putin's spokesman stressed on Thursday that Moscow was at liberty to move troops across its territory.

He added that "it should not worry anyone and does not pose a threat to anyone".

Russia's military manoeuvres came a week after four Ukrainian troops were killed in fighting in eastern Ukraine.

Also on Wednesday, Mark Milley, chairman the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke with his Russian counterpart Valery Gerasimov and Ukraine's Commander in Chief Ruslan Khomchak.

Ukraine's army commander Gen Ruslan Khomchak says Russian Federation has deployed 28 battalion tactical groups near Ukraine's eastern border and in Crimea, which would amount to 20,000-25,000 troops.

Since 2014, the United States has committed more than $2 billion in security assistance to Ukraine, including a recently announced $125 million package that featured defensive weapons and other key capabilities to enhance the lethality, command and control, and situational awareness of Ukraine's Armed Forces.

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