Earlier, the head of the Ukrainian Armed Forces accused Moscow of continuing its aggressive policy
In an interview with CBS News, a representative of the US Department of Defense expressed concern about the build-up of Russian forces near the border with Ukraine after the head of the Ukrainian armed forces, Ruslan Khomchak, said that Russian troops from different regions were being pulled to the border.
This may be related to combat training, but a Pentagon source noted that Russia has not announced any exercises in the area.
Speaking to parliament on Monday, Khomchak said that Russian troops from various regions are being drawn to Ukraine’s borders under the pretext of maintaining combat readiness and preparing for exercises, “conducting a gradual build-up of troops near Ukraine’s state border.” He also accused Moscow of pursuing an “aggressive policy” against Kiev.
Relations between Russia and Ukraine, which have deteriorated since the annexation of Crimea, have recently deteriorated further. Just four days ago, four Ukrainian servicemen were killed by Russian separatist fire in eastern Ukraine.
Russian President Vladimir Putin acknowledged the increased violence on Tuesday, but placed the blame on Ukrainian forces.
According to a Kremlin press release about Putin’s telephone conversation with the French and German leaders, the Russian president expressed “serious concern about the escalation of armed confrontation provoked by Ukraine at the line of contact.”
The U.S. Embassy in Kiev issued a statement last week calling on Russia to “abide by the ceasefire” and “end the day-to-day violence” and to stop the aggression in Ukraine.
According to the U.S. National Security Council, Presidential National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan spoke with Ukrainian Presidential Chief of Staff Andriy Yermak on Monday and reiterated that the United States continues to support Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and Euro-Atlantic aspirations in the face of continued aggression.
RIA Novosti news agency, citing the Russian Defense Ministry, reported that Army General Valery Gerasimov, chief of the Russian Armed Forces General Staff, and General Mark Milley, head of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, held telephone talks on Monday. According to the agency, the conversation took place at the initiative of the American side. Additional details have not yet been reported.