Russia warns that it will “take extra measures to ensure its security” if NATO sends troops to Ukraine
Russia today vowed to ‘take additional measures’ if NATO responds after the Kremlin sends 4,000 troops to reinforce the disputed Ukrainian border.
Such a scenario would undoubtedly lead to a further increase in tensions near the Russian borders. This, of course, calls for additional measures on the Russian side to ensure security, ” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
However, he insisted that Russia “did not threaten” Ukraine, despite an earlier statement warning that a war in Donbass would “destroy” its neighbor.
Footage has emerged showing dozens of military helicopters close to the border and the movement of tanks and other military vehicles by train.
The United States pledged its “ unwavering ” support to Ukraine on Thursday when defense officials said they were aware of thousands of troops recently deployed in the separatist Donbass area, which is controlled by pro-Moscow factions.
Huge rows of infantry fighting vehicles, left, and tanks, right, driving a highway to the Ukrainian border. US officials estimate that Russia has deployed an additional 4,000 troops
Tanks are transported by freight train at a station bound for the separatist area on the border with Ukraine
A column of tanks and trucks lining the way as they head for the conflict zone
The Biden government yesterday pledged its ‘unwavering’ support for Ukraine (photo: Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and Joe Biden, right)
Kiev has put its forces on edge with exercises near rebel-controlled Luhansk and near Russian-occupied Crimea, claiming it is responding to visible aggression by Vladimir Putin’s military machine.
A video shows 2S19 Msta-S tanks – 152.4mm self-propelled howitzers – bound for Crimea by train, annexed by Putin from Ukraine in 2014.
As the West marks Easter, Ukrainian intelligence sources said there is increasing activity of Russian troops in the Bryansk, Voronezh, Rostov and Crimea regions.
Kiev claims that Putin has 28 tactical battalion groups along the Russian-Ukrainian border, in Donbass and Crimea.
This is expected to be supplemented shortly with up to 25 additional battalion groups.
The build-up would be Russian war games, but it has escalated tensions.
Veteran Kremlin Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned that Ukraine and the West are provoking a ‘hot conflict’.
“Russian President Putin said not long ago, but this statement is still valid, that those who would try to start a new war in Donbass will destroy Ukraine,” he said.
The military understands the harmfulness of any action to start a hot conflict. I sincerely hope that they will not be prompted by politicians, who in turn will incite the West under the leadership of the United States. ‘
Ukraine claims Russia has 32,700 troops in Crimea and 28,000 separatist soldiers in rebel-occupied eastern Ukraine.
“Despite significant enemy forces, the Ukrainian military is prepared for all possible scenarios,” said Ruslan Khomchak, the Ukrainian commander in chief.
Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov defended the troop movement to border areas.
The Russian Federation is relocating troops within its own territory at its discretion, ”he said.
“This would not concern anyone, as such actions do not endanger anyone.”
He stated: ‘As you know, on the periphery of Russia’s borders intense activity is observed by the armies of NATO member states and other organizations, as well as certain states, etc.
“We have to stay on our guard.”
The Kremlin said on Thursday that Ukraine and the West need not worry about Russian troop movements on the Ukrainian border (photo, a tank of pro-Russian militants from the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic)
Russia has used trains to transport huge military vehicles to Crimea and in Ukraine’s easternmost region, Donbas, which the Pentagon now believes was a military exercise, but Ukraine’s president considered it a “threat.”
Armored vehicles mounted on a freight train are sent forward
A train transports tanks to the border with Ukraine
A NATO official said Western allies have “concerns” about Russia’s “large-scale military activities around Ukraine.”
An American expert on Russia, Michael Kofman, said that while there was “no strong evidence that an attack is imminent,” it was clear “that something is going on outside of regular drills or the normal troop rotation.”
He warned, “Russian intentions are unclear.”
Ukraine, Western countries and NATO accuse Russia of sending troops and heavy weapons to support its proxies in Donbass, which seized part of eastern Ukraine in 2014.
Russia says it only provides political and humanitarian support to separatist fighters in what it calls an internal conflict.
Ukrainian Military Intelligence accused Russia of technical provocations to create a pretext for sending additional Russian military units to Donbass.
“In addition, an attempt to increase Russian occupation forces deep in Ukraine is not out of the question,” he said.