US declares ‘relentless’ support to Ukraine as Russia floods Crimea with tanks full of trains amid mounting tensions
- Secretary of State Antony Blinken reaffirmed US ‘continued support’ for Ukraine as Russia moved trains with military vehicles to the border
- A number of US officials reached out to their Ukrainian counterparts this week regarding actions by the Russian military
- Blinken spoke with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on Wednesday in light of ‘Russia’s ongoing aggression in the Donbas and Crimea’
- Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley spoke to both his Ukrainian and Russian counterparts
- According to military intelligence reports, about 4,000 heavily armed Russian troops were on the move in Crimea, which officials said was an exercise.
- Still, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Thursday that he believes the movements were a “threat.”
- The military exercise could send a message to President Joe Biden who has been stricter against Russia, sanctioned some entities and called Vladimir Putin a ‘murderer’
Secretary of State Antony Blinken reaffirmed the United States’ ‘continued support’ for Ukraine when Russia moved trains with military vehicles to the border.
A number of US officials reached out to their Ukrainian counterparts this week about movements of the Russian army in Crimea and in Ukraine’s easternmost region, Donbas, which borders Russia.
Blinken spoke to Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on Wednesday in light of ‘Russia’s ongoing aggression in the Donbas and Crimea’, reported CNN
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.”
Secretary of State Antony Blinken confirmed during a phone call on Wednesday the United States’ ‘unwavering support’ for Ukraine
National security adviser Jake Sullivan made a similar phone call to his Ukrainian counterpart on Monday.
The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley spoke with the Supreme General of Ukraine and also with Russian General Valery Gerasimov, the Chief of the General Staff of Russia.
Details about Milley’s call with Gerasimov have not been made public.
CNN reported that the Pentagon is concerned about an escalation, as military intelligence officials said about 4,000 heavily armed Russian troops had seen moving into Crimea.
“It was not entirely clear what they were planning,” an official told the network, adding that the US now thinks it may have been part of a Russian military exercise.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Thursday that he believes the movements were 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] strives for an atmosphere of threat and at the same time of pressure during the negotiations on the ceasefire and for peace as our value. ‘
The US agreed with Ukraine’s assessment that two mortar and machine gun fire incidents that led to the deaths of four Ukrainian soldiers last Friday constituted a violation of a ceasefire agreement.
Russia blamed Ukraine for the renewed fighting.
President Joe Biden has taken a tougher approach to Russian than former President Donald Trump, labeled Russian President Vladimir Putin as a “ murderer ” and imposed sanctions on Russian officials and entities for poisoning Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny.
More santions are expected due to election interference and SolarWinds’ cyberattack, CNN said.
Russia’s major military exercise on the Ukraine border could send a message to Biden, demonstrating the country’s military dominance in the region, CNN’s Pentagon source said.