- Secretary of State Antony Blinken reaffirmed the US’ ‘unwavering support’ for Ukraine as Russia moved trains carrying military vehicles toward the border
- A number of American officials have reached out to their Ukrainian counterparts this week over concerning moves by Russia’s military
- Blinken spoke with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on Wednesday in the face of ‘Russia’s ongoing aggression in the Donbas and Crimea’
- Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley spoke with both his Ukrainian and Russian counterparts
- Military intelligence reports said around 4,000 heavily armed Russian forces had been seen moving in Crimea, which officials believe was an exercise
- Still, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Thursday that he believe the moves represented a ‘threat’
- The military exercise could be a message for President Joe Biden who has been tougher on Russia, sanctioning some entities and calling Vladimir Putin a ‘killer’
By NIKKI SCHWAB, SENIOR U.S. POLITICAL REPORTER FOR DAILYMAIL.COM PUBLISHED: 12:13 EDT, 1 April 2021 | UPDATED: 13:34 EDT, 1 April 2021
The Biden administration has given Ukraine its full backing as new video showed Russia sending trains filled with tanks and military vehicles into Crimea.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken reaffirmed the United States’ ‘unwavering support’ for Kiev as tensions continue to escalate with Moscow.
The Kremlin said on Thursday the West should not ‘worry’ about Russian troop movements on the Ukrainian border, but there are concerns the situation could develop into another conflict.
A number of American officials have reached out to their Ukrainian counterparts this week over concerning moves by Russia’s military in Crimea and in Ukraine’s easternmost region, Donbas, that borders Russia.
Blinken spoke with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on Wednesday in the face of ‘Russia’s ongoing aggression in the Donbas and Crimea,’ reported CNN.
Russia has used trains to move massive military vehicles toward Crimea and in Ukraine’s easternmost region, Donbas, which the Pentagon now believes was a military training exercise, but Ukraine’s president viewed as a ‘threat’
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan held a similar call with his Ukrainian counterpart on Monday.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley spoke to Ukraine’s top general and also Russian Gen. Valery Gerasimov, the head of Russia’s general staff.
Details about Milley’s call with Gerasimov haven’t been made public.
CNN reported that the Pentagon has become worried about an escalation as military intelligence reports said around 4,000 heavily armed Russian forces had been seen moving in Crimea.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken reaffirmed the United States’ ‘unwavering support’ for Ukraine during a call Wednesday
‘It was not totally clear what they were up to,’ an official told the network, adding that the US now believes it may have been part of a Russian military exercise.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said Thursday that he believe the moves represented a threat.
‘Playing with muscles in the form of military exercises and possible provocations along the border is a traditional Russian affair,’ Zelensky said, according to Reuters. ‘In this way, [Russia] seeks to create an atmosphere of threat and, at the same time, of pressure during the ceasefire negotiations and for peace as our value.’
The US agreed with Ukraine’s assessment that two incidents involving mortar and machine gun fire that led to the death of four Ukrainian soldiers last Friday represented a violation of a ceasefire agreement.
Russia blamed the renewed fighting on Ukraine.
On Thursday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov did not confirm the troop buildup on the border, saying Moscow was at liberty to move troops across its territory.
‘The Russian Federation moves its armed forces within its territory at its discretion,’ Peskov said. ‘It should not worry anyone and does not pose a threat to anyone.’
‘As for the participation of Russian troops in the armed conflict on the territory of Ukraine, Russian troops have never taken part in it,’ he added. ‘And [they] are not doing it now.’
President Joe Biden has taken a tougher approach to Russian than former President Donald Trump, labeling Russian President Vladimir Putin a ‘killer’ and slapping sanctions on Russian officials and entities over the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny.
More santions are expected over election interference and the SolarWinds cyberattack, CNN said.
This week, Moscow and Kiev blamed each other for a rise in violence between government forces and Kremlin-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine (pictured, volunteers take an oath of allegiance before they leave for Donbas to fight pro-Russian separatists) (Click to Source)
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