Two Ukrainian soldiers killed in eastern Ukraine

Remigio Civitarese
Aprile 7, 2021

"The command of the Russian Armed Forces continues to build up the combat capabilities of the Russian occupation forces in the temporarily occupied territory in Donetsk and Luhansk regions, in particular, by strengthening cooperating units stationed on Russian territory near the border with Ukraine". The movements are the latest point of tension between Russian Federation and the US less than three months after US President Joe Biden took office.

"We call on Russian Federation to refrain from escalatory actions", State Department spokesman Ned Price said.

This time, according to Mr Leviev, Russia is flaunting its troops, which leads him to believe that the main goal of the build-up is to intimidate Ukraine rather than prepare an actual incursion: "You nearly get the feeling that the Defence Ministry wants it all to be seen and filmed, so that people in Ukraine would get the message".

"We've asked Russian Federation for an explanation of these provocations", Price said.

US President Joe Biden in his first call with Zelensky affirmed Washington's support for "Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity in the face of Russia's ongoing aggression".

Last week the Pentagon said U.S. forces in Europe had raised their alert status following the "recent escalations of Russian aggression in eastern Ukraine".

Last July, all sides to the conflict agreed on a ceasefire in the eastern Donbass area.

Russia's recent military drills in Crimea had unnerved Ukraine and NATO
Russia's recent military drills in Crimea had unnerved Ukraine and NATO Credit Sergei Malgavko Tass via Getty Images

Russian Federation has begun a planned "combat readiness" inspection of its army amid tensions with Ukraine, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said.

The call between the two leaders came after the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation alliance expressed concern over what is said was a large Russian military buildup on Ukraine's eastern border, warning Moscow against any further escalations of the situation. "We remain committed to our close partnership", Stoltenberg tweeted.

But Zelenskiy, in a phone conversation with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson late Monday, argued that "Russia's recent actions pose a serious challenge to the security of Ukraine, NATO member states and the whole of Europe", according to a readout of the call released by Kyiv.

Using the online wagon and container tracking service GdeVagon, the group said it tracked the Russian troops, including the air assault division that was involved in the 2014 conflict, arriving in annexed Crimea and the border region of Voronezh.

"The Prime Minister reaffirmed our unwavering support for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity", Johnson's office said.

He expressed his solidarity with President Zelensky's government "in the face of this destabilizing activity and commended Ukraine's approach to the situation". He said the United Kingdom would work to "ensure there is no further escalation". He accused Ukraine of failing to implement agreements over the region.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov insisted Monday that Russian Federation could deploy its forces wherever it deems necessary on its territory, adding that the troops' movements "shouldn't cause the slightest concern" and that Russian Federation doesn't pose a threat "to any country in the world, including Ukraine".

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