Newscast Media WASHINGTON—The US has accused Russia of again building up its
forces along the border with eastern Ukraine, where fighting continues. Kyiv says its
troops have battled separatists around three Ukrainian border towns.
The US Department of Defense on Wednesday said it had detected up to 12,000
Russian combat troops on Ukraine’s eastern border and accused Russia of continuing
to support separatists in eastern Ukraine.
In May, apparently in response to Western pressure, Russian reduced its border
forces – put by the US at 40,000 – down to about 1,000.
But, in Washington on Wednesday, US defense spokesman Army Colonel Steve
Warren estimated that 12,000 were present. He described the Russian units as
“battalion task groups” and “combat soldiers.”
“I can’t speak for what they intend to do. Certainly, it is intimidating,” Warren said.
Moscow has repeatedly denied sending advanced weapons being used by separatists
since they were evicted by Ukrainian forces from their stronghold of Slavyansk 10
Ukraine’s Kyiv-based government on Wednesday said it had lost 11 servicemen in the
past 24 hours during fighting around three towns close to Ukraine’s border with
Ukrainian national security spokesman Andriy Lysenko identified them as the towns of
Amvrosyika, Marynivka and Izvarne. Troops had been backed by Ukrainian artillery and
aviation, he added.
Rebel leader Igor Strelkov said two of his fighters were killed during a rebel bid to cut
off government forces east of Donetsk.
Lysenko said Ukrainian warplanes had been cleared to resume flights over the east.
Two days ago, a government Antonov-26 transport plane was downed. Kyiv alleged
that it was fired from Russia.
Source: Deutsche Welle