The United States said it was growing concern about Russia’s militarization along Ukraine’s border as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy made his way to the Eastern Front.
The number of Russian troops on the border with the Soviet Republic is now greater than “whenever since 2014” when the first war broke out in Eastern Ukraine and Russia captured the Crimea region, White House Secretary Jane Psaki. Said in washington
“The United States is increasingly concerned with the recent escalation of Russian aggression in eastern Ukraine, as well as the movement of Russian forces at the Ukrainian border,”; Psaki said on Thursday. Deeply related “
Her comments come after the Ukrainian president’s visit to the Eastern Front, where fighting between the Ukrainian army and the Russian-backed separatists has intensified in recent weeks.
Images released by Zelenskiy’s office show the 43-year-old leader in trenches wearing helmets and bulletproof vests, awarding Ukrainian soldiers and holding their hands.
The long-running conflict in eastern Russia-speaking Ukraine has killed more than 13,000 people since 2014.
On Thursday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Moscow to cut its forces.
In a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Merkel asked him to downsize. “Strengthening forces” at the border “to ease escalating tensions,” her office said in a statement.
During a visit to the front line, Zelenskiy thanked the soldiers “for protecting our land” and said “there is certainly an increase” in eastern Ukraine.
“All commanders understand that snipers are targeting our team,” Zelensky said, adding that 26 Ukrainian armies were killed at the start of the year, compared with all 50 in 2020.
In Moscow, the Kremlin leader on ties with Ukraine and Russia’s backing separatist Dmitry Kozak on Thursday sent a new warning to Kiev, saying Russia may “There” will come to defend the Russian speakers in the eastern war.
But he added that the increase would be “the beginning of the end of Ukraine”, describing the situation of the former Soviet country as “not a shoot in the leg. But a confrontation “
The new round of Ukrainian talks took place on April 19, he added.
The fight in the conflict, which erupted after Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine, waned in 2020 as a new ceasefire deal was reached in July.
But clashes, most of which involve artillery and mortar fires, have resumed since the start of the year, with both sides blaming each other.
The Ukrainian separatists are widely viewed as having Russia’s political and military support, which Moscow denies.
Ukraine last week accused Russia of killing thousands of military personnel in the northern and eastern border, as well as on the Crimean peninsula.
Together with France and Germany, Ukraine and Russia are part of the country’s Normandy pattern that has tried to resolve the conflict since 2015 but have failed to settle the fight.
Kiev’s western allies have warned Russia several times not to take further action.
The Kremlin did not deny the movement of the forces. But insisted that Moscow “Not threatening anyone”
Zelenskiy this week urged Nato to urgently urged his country to seek membership in the alliance, saying it was the only way to end the conflict.
Allied members responded by calling on Kiev to continue military and defense reform.
In a statement on Thursday, Russia’s foreign ministry spokesman Maria Zakharova said Nato’s support for Ukraine was “It does not contribute to the security” and “the resolution of the conflict.”
She added that Moscow was concerned about the “financial and logistical support of the Ukrainian forces by NATO countries”, including the alliance supplying lethal weapons and Western teachers who train the Ukrainian military.
Analysts have been excluded from Russia’s true intentions amid the recent escalating tensions with Kiev and some observers say Moscow may test Joe Biden’s determination to protect Ukraine.
In the first call with Zelenskiy last week, Biden confirmed Washington’s “unchanging support” for Kiev in the conflict.