Russia is denying that its army is in the eastern Ukraine region to reinforce anti-Kiev rebels. Fearing a new Russian offensive, Ukraine said it is redeploying troops. CCTV America’s Tom Barton reported this story from Moscow.
Russia denies its troops are in UkraineRussia is denying that its army is in the eastern Ukraine region to reinforce anti-Kiev rebels. Fearing a new Russian offensive, Ukraine said it is redeploying troops. CCTV America's Tom Barton reported this story from Moscow.
The ceasefire that was signed in early September by pro-Russian rebels and Ukrainian government forces appears all but dead. Despite Russia’s statement denying its army was in eastern Ukraine, it’s clear Kiev does not accept Moscow’s denial and said it’s preparing for a major pro-Russia militant offensive backed by Russia’s military.
“We observe and know about the reinforcement of terrorist groups, and from the side of the Russian Federation. But we closely follow their movements. We know their locations. And we expect unexpected actions from them. How to react to their unexpected actions? I see it as the main task to prepare for military actions,” said Ukrainian Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak.
Ukraine and the West have repeatedly pointed to what they said is evidence of Russian involvement in eastern Ukraine.
NATO officials have also reported seeing columns of unmarked military vehicles and troops, believed to be Russian, crossing the border into Ukraine in the past few days. This confirms claims made by observers from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.
Russia said the soldiers are volunteers fighting with pro-Russia militants in eastern Ukraine but denied that its regular forces are there or that it supplies the militants with weapons.
Ukraine, the U.S., the European Union, NATO and other countries have consistently rejected these claims.
“I am concerned about the increased movement and I think it is important for all of us to call on those parties involved in this conflict to return to norms… that we expect in western civilization, that nations will respect international borders, that nations will respect the sovereignty of the neighbors,” said NATO Supreme Commander General Philip.
“And so the ceasefire is in name only at this point, the violence continues to increase day-by-day. And so we need to now find our way back to those norms that would allow for a positive progress in eastern Ukraine.”
In March, Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula seceded and joined Russia. Kiev feared a similar outcome in eastern Ukraine.