U.S. concerned about Russian troop movements near Ukraine, discussing regional tensions with NATO allies

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy visits positions of armed forces near the frontline with Russian-backed separatists throughout his working journey in Donbass area, Ukraine April 8, 2021.

Ukrainian Presidential Press Service | Handout | through Reuters

WASHINGTON – The Biden administration stated Thursday that it was engaged in discussions with NATO allies about escalating tensions in Ukraine as Russia has elevated its army presence near the nation’s border.

“Russia now has more troops on the border with Ukraine than at any time since 2014, five Ukrainian soldiers have been killed this week alone,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki stated throughout a briefing, calling the matter “deeply concerning.”

“The United States is increasingly concerned by recent escalating Russian aggression in eastern Ukraine, including Russian troop movements on Ukraine’s border,” she stated, including that the Biden administration was consulting with NATO allies about the uptick in tensions and cease-fire violations.

Psaki’s feedback observe a contentious cellphone name between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin, during which she demanded that Moscow cut back its drive posture within the space near japanese Ukraine.

“The Chancellor demanded that this build-up be unwound in order to de-escalate the situation,” the German authorities wrote in a readout of the decision between the 2 leaders.

In latest weeks, Russia has elevated its army presence alongside the Ukrainian border, sparking considerations within the West of a budding army battle between the 2 neighboring nations. The Russian Defense Ministry has stated it’s conducting more than 4,000 military drills this month to examine its forces readiness.

“Russia’s armed forces are on Russian territory in the places it considers necessary and appropriate, and they will stay there for as long as our military leadership and supreme commander consider it appropriate,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said when asked how long Russian forces would remain near Ukraine, in accordance with Reuters.

Read extra: The West waits for Putin’s next move as Russia-Ukraine tensions rise

Last month, the Ukrainian authorities stated 4 of its troopers have been killed by Russian shelling in Donbass. Moscow has denied it has forces in japanese Ukraine. Kyiv has been battling Russian-backed separatists in a battle that has left a minimum of 13,000 individuals useless since 2014, in accordance with U.N. figures.

The Kremlin has stated that it’s concerned about the rising tensions in japanese Ukraine and that it feared Kyiv’s forces have been trying to restart a battle.

“It’s not completely clear what the Russians are doing there, we’d like to understand that more, and that uncertainty is obviously not contributing to a more stable, more secure situation,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby instructed reporters Wednesday.

“As I said, the full intentions are not 100% clear and we’d like to understand more about what it is the Russians are doing there and what they intend to do there, but it is not conducive, this buildup and a fairly rapid buildup, it’s not conducive to greater stability,” Kirby added.

The buildup of Russian troops has led to repeated calls from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to speed up his nation’s admittance into the NATO alliance. President Joe Biden spoke with Zelenskiy final week, expressing U.S. support for Ukraine’s sovereignty “in the face of Russia’s ongoing aggression.”

When requested about Ukraine’s potential entry into the alliance, the Pentagon, State Department and White House have reiterated that every one eligible nations ought to meet NATO’s normal for membership.

“We are committed to ensuring that aspirant countries wishing to join NATO meet the organization’s standard for membership,” State Department spokesman Ned Price stated when requested about Ukraine’s standing.

“To that end, we continue to urge the government of Ukraine to implement the deep, comprehensive, and timely reforms necessary to build a more stable, democratic, prosperous, and free country,” he added.

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