Washington — Number of Russian troops deployed in occupied Crimea near the Ukrainian border Steadily increasing The Pentagon said Monday that it had exceeded the size of the unit that annexed the peninsula in 2014 in the past two weeks.
Press Secretary John Kirby refused to provide concrete figures for growth Russia The existence of the military.Spokesman Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky Last week, he said there were about 80,000 troops stationed along the Russian border, 40,000 of whom were stationed in Crimea. On Monday, the European Union said there are currently more than 100,000 people in the border area.
“What I can say is that, in general, this accumulation continues to grow. Again, it has to do with us,” Kirby told reporters.
“Mainly over the past two weeks, the military has continued to grow along the Ukrainian border in occupied Crimea,” he said.
Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula In 2014, he also began supporting separatists in eastern Ukraine using an army in unmarked uniforms. Since then, the conflict between Russia and Ukraine has intensified.Despite this, it killed about 14,000 people A series of ceasefires..
Experts say it is unclear whether Russia is simply bending muscles or trying to provoke Kiev into a major clash.
Russia’s Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu said earlier this month that troops had been strengthened as part of preparatory training to respond to threatening activities by the United States and its NATO allies.
According to Kirby, the deployment of Russian troops is “certainly larger” than the accumulation associated with the 2014 annexation of the peninsula.
“We clearly ask Russia to clarify their intentions. I don’t think this accumulation will foster security and stability along the Ukrainian border, and certainly not the occupied Crimea,” Kirby said. Said.
“We certainly heard the Russians declare that this was all about training. It’s not entirely clear to us if that’s exactly what it’s for,” he said. I added.
U.S. Secretary of Defense, not allowed to speak on record, told NBC News that tens of thousands of Russian troops had gathered at the border. Ukraine Tanks, cannons, aircraft and more are accumulating in the Crimean Peninsula and elsewhere.
European Union Foreign Policy Officer Josep Borrell expressed serious concern over the existence of Russian troops on Monday.
“This is the greatest military deployment of Russian troops on the Ukrainian border in history. When deploying many troops, it is clear that it is a concern,” Borel said. “Well, sparks can jump here and there.”
Borel initially told reporters that more than 150,000 Russian troops had gathered at the Ukrainian border. But then EU staff changed the number of briefing records and said the actual numbers exceeded 100,000.