Ukraine says Russia amasses more troops on Ukraine’s border with the Crimean region

12/08/2016 10:31
Asia-Plus
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DUSHANBE, August 12, 2016, Asia-Plus -- Russia has amassed more troops in recent days equipped with more modern equipment on Ukraine's border with the Crimean region, which has been annexed by Moscow, Oleh Slobodyan, the spokesman for the Ukrainian border guards, said on Thursday, according to Reuters.

“We can unequivocally say that Russian troops who were there since March are now being replaced with others,” he told a briefing amid an increase in tensions between Moscow and Kiev.

“These troops are coming with more modern equipment and there are air assault units. In recent days, we see a strengthening of the units that are at the border. Their number increased,” Slobodyan said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin accused Kiev on Wednesday of using terrorist tactics to try to provoke a new conflict and destabilize Crimea, which Moscow annexed from Ukraine in 2014.  Russia said it had thwarted armed Ukrainian attempts to get saboteurs into the peninsula.

Meanwhile Russian Sputnik news agency reports that NATO does not believe that Ukraine was plotting terrorist attacks in Crimea

Russian accusations toward Crimea in connection with the thwarted attempt to sabotage critical facilities and carry out terrorist attacks in Crimea are unproven, a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) official reportedly told RIA Novosti on Thursday.

The official claimed that Moscow has not provided proof of the attempted incursion into Crimea by Ukraine, and stressed that the alliance was closely following the events following heightened tensions on the peninsula.

Separately, the NATO official called on sides to the conflict in eastern Ukraine to negotiate toward crisis settlement through diplomatic and peaceful means with the Minsk agreements a key factor.

Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) said Wednesday it had dismantled a spy ring in Crimea organized by the Ukrainian Defense Ministry, which was plotting acts of sabotage on critical and life-supporting elements of the peninsula's infrastructure. Two Russian officers were killed.

Kiev denied the claims as Moscow’s provocations.

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