US Raises Alarm As Russia Moves Heavy Artillery, Tanks Towards Ukraine Border

Then-US vice president Joe Biden in Kyiv Ukraine

Then-US vice president Joe Biden in Kyiv Ukraine

On Thursday, the United States warned Russian Federation against "intimidating" Ukraine, with both Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken calling their Ukrainian counterparts to stress support.

On Friday, Russia said its armed forces would hold military exercises close to Ukraine's border in the country's south to practice defense against attack drones.

He accused Moscow of seeking to create "a threatening atmosphere" as Kiev hopes to resume the ceasefire, which was brokered past year. "Of course, this would call for additional measures from the Russian side to ensure its security", Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

According to United States media reports, top USA national security officials were in touch with their Ukrainian counterparts, and the country's top general called his Ukrainian counterpart on Wednesday amid reports of Russian military buildup near the border with eastern Ukraine.

Zelensky said 20 Ukrainian servicemen had been killed and 57 wounded since the start of the year.

"What we would object to are aggressive actions that have an intent of intimidating, of threatening, our partner Ukraine".

In the worst flare-up in recent months, four Ukrainian soldiers died in separatist shelling on 26 March near Shuma, a village in the Donetsk region.

On Thursday, Austin, the US Secretary of Defence, called his Ukrainian counterpart Andriy Taran, Ukraine's defence ministry said.

More than 50 battalion combat teams comprising 15,000 people will take part in those exercises and practice "interaction with electronic warfare and air defense units", the defense military told reporters.

Ukrainian war veterans march as Nationalists movements demonstrate in front of President Volodymyr Zelensky's offices in Kiev in October a year ago.

US Raises Alarm As Russia Moves Heavy Artillery, Tanks Towards Ukraine Border

Although Russia has increased military activity near the Ukrainian border in the past, the situation today is particularly concerning since the ceasefire is about the expire.

Despite several different videos showing trains full of armored vehicles streaming toward the border, Moscow is insisting that it is not sending troops to reinforce the separatists in the Donbass.

Last month Russian Federation conducted military exercises in Crimea, the Black Sea peninsula it annexed from Ukraine in March 2014.

A senior Russian diplomat said Friday that Moscow had no interest in an escalated conflict with Ukraine.

Khomchak said this week that 28,000 separatist fighters and "more than 2,000 Russian military instructors and advisers" were now stationed in eastern Ukraine.

Peskov said the situation at the contact line in eastern Ukraine between Ukrainian government forces and Russian-backed separatist forces was quite frightening and that multiple "provocations" were taking place there.

On Thursday, the deputy head of Zelensky's office, Roman Mashovets, called for joint drills with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation forces to "help stabilize the security situation".

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was elected in 2019 on promises to end the seven-year conflict, but critics say that the shaky ceasefire is his only tangible achievement.

The fighting has claimed more than 13,000 lives since 2014, according to the United Nations.

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