US worried about Russian-Ukrainian military tensions

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United States President General Mark Milley speaks with Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces Ruslan Khomchak and Chief of Staff of the Russian Armed Forces General Valery Gerasimov to express their concern over the Russian troop movements reported at Kiev borders.

In this file photo, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley speaks during the daily meeting in the Brady Briefing Room at the White House on April 1, 2020, in Washington, DC . (AFP)

The top Pentagon general called his counterparts in Russia and Ukraine as the US Defense Department worried about the build-up of Russian troops along the Ukrainian border and in Crimea.

US troops in Europe were on a high “watch condition” as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Gen. Mark Milley, spoke with Gen. Valery Gerasimov, the Chief of Staff of the Russian Armed Forces and the Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces Ruslan Khomchak.

Meanwhile, White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan called on Ukraine Presidential Office Chief Andriy Yermak to reiterate Washington’s support for the country.

“We are concerned about the recent escalations of Russian aggression in eastern Ukraine, including the July 2020 ceasefire violations which resulted in the deaths of four Ukrainian soldiers on March 26 and injuring two more, “Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said. .

“Russia’s destabilizing actions are undermining the de-escalation of tensions that had been achieved through an agreement brokered by the OSCE in July of last year.

READ MORE: It’s been five years since Russia annexed Crimea

Russian military reinforcement

He said the US military was aware of Ukrainian reports regarding Russian troop movements at the country’s borders.

“We discuss our concerns about this increased tension in ceasefire violations and regional tensions with NATO allies.”

On Tuesday, Moscow and Kiev exchanged accusations of responsibility for the increase in violence between Ukrainian government forces and Kremlin-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine, leading to an increase in the death toll.

READ MORE: Russia, Ukraine to relaunch peace process despite little progress

Khomchak denounced the “threat to the military security” of Ukraine by the Russian army, saying that some 28,000 separatist fighters and “more than 2,000 Russian military instructors and advisers” are currently stationed in eastern Ukraine.

Reports online suggest that Russia has located more military forces along the border and has also moved more into Crimea, Ukrainian territory which Moscow seized in 2014.

READ MORE: Ukraine, Russia’s other forgotten conflict

Increased level of surveillance

These reports could not be confirmed, but some observers linked them to Russian military exercises.

Kirby said Milley’s appeal to his Russian counterpart was “to get a little more clarity on what exactly is going on.”

“We obviously don’t want to see any more violations of Ukrainian territory,” he said.

READ MORE: Ukraine calls in reservists amid tensions with Russia

In his appeal with Yermak, Sullivan “affirmed the United States’ unwavering support for Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and Euro-Atlantic aspirations in the face of continued aggression,” according to a statement from the United States. White House.

US forces in Europe have been placed under increased surveillance in the face of a “potential imminent crisis” in response to Russian activities, Kirby confirmed.

He said the state of surveillance “expresses the concern of combat commanders over a potential threat.”

READ MORE: Turkey supports Ukraine’s territorial integrity over Donbass and Crimea

Source: TRTWorld and agencies


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