WASHINGTON – The number of Russian forces stationed in the occupied Crimea near Ukraine’s border has steadily increased over the past two weeks and exceeded the size of the forces that annexed the peninsula in 2014, the Pentagon said. Monday
Press Secretary John Kirby declined to provide specific figures on the growing presence of Russian troops. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s spokesman said last week about 80,000 troops were deployed along the country’s border with 40,000 Russians in Crimea.On Monday, the EU said it now has more than 100,000 border areas. of
“What I can tell you is, generally speaking, we still see this build up. And again involving us, “Kirby told reporters.
“In the past few weeks, we continue to see an increase in forces along the border with Ukraine in occupied Crimea,”; he said.
Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula in 2014 using unmarked uniformed forces and has also begun to support the separatists of eastern Ukraine. The conflict between Russia and Ukraine has raged since then, killing about 14,000 people, despite multiple ceasefire.
Experts said it was unclear whether Russia was simply flexing muscles or trying to incite Kiev into a massive collision.
Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said earlier this month that military reinforcements were part of a preparatory exercise in response to what he called threatening activities by the United States and its allies. counter
Kirby said Russian forces were “larger” than the forces that came with the 2014 annexation of the peninsula.
“We urge Russia to express their intentions more clearly. We do not believe that this building will provide stability and security along the Ukrainian border.
“Obviously, we heard the Russians announce that it’s all about training. We are not entirely clear if that is the real purpose, ”he added.
US defense officials, who were not authorized to speak on the memo, told NBC News that tens of thousands of Russian forces had gathered at the Ukrainian border in Crimea and other regions by forces including tanks, artillery and aircraft
The EU’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell expressed deep concern Monday about the presence of Russian troops.
“This is the highest military deployment of the Russian army on the Ukrainian border ever. It’s clear that it’s a concern when you use a lot of force, ”Borrell said.“ Sparks can jump here or there. ”
Borrell initially told reporters that more than 150,000 Russian forces were bombarding the Ukrainian border. But EU officials later changed the number in the briefing notes, saying the actual figure was more than 100,000.
Mosheh received Take part