U.S. "increasingly concerned" by Russian military buildup along Ukraine border
People's Daily Online
(Xinhua) 15:55, April 09, 2021
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that Russia currently deployed more troops along the border with Ukraine than any time since 2014, when the conflict in eastern Ukraine broke out.
WASHINGTON, April 8 (Xinhua) -- The White House said on Thursday that the United States is "increasingly concerned" by Russian troop movements on its border with Ukraine, noting Russia now has more troops along the border than any time since 2014.
"The United States is increasingly concerned by recent escalating Russian aggression in eastern Ukraine, including Russian troop movements on Ukraine's border," White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters during the daily briefing.
"Five Ukrainian soldiers have been killed this week alone. These are all deeply concerning signs," she added.
She also noted that Russia currently deployed more troops along the border with Ukraine than any time since 2014, when the conflict in eastern Ukraine broke out. The ongoing conflict has killed some 14,000 people and left as many as 40,000 wounded.
Kremlin Deputy Chief of Staff Dmitry Kozak said Thursday that Russia would be forced to defend residents in eastern Ukraine's Donbas region if there is a need to do so.
Such a decision will depend on the scale of violence in the region, Kozak said, adding that the "armed formations" in Donbas are experienced and currently able to defend themselves without external assistance.
He reiterated that Russia does not want to violate Ukraine's sovereignty or seize its territories.
President Joe Biden affirmed U.S. "unwavering support for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity" to his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky in a phone call last Friday.
The conflict in eastern Ukraine has been escalating since February and the clashes between the Donbas insurgents and Ukrainian government forces intensified despite the ceasefire secured in July last year.
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