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
Newscast Media MOSCOW—Ukrainian right-wing groups are behind the recent events
in the country, Russian President Vladmir Putin said, adding that Kiev has not
disarmed them. He also called on anti-Kiev protesters to postpone a May 11
“Russia believes that the crisis, which originated in Ukraine and is now actively
developing in accordance with the worst-case scenario, is to be blamed on those
who organized the coup in Kiev on 22-23 February and still do not care to disarm the
right-wing and nationalist elements,” the president said.
Direct dialogue between Kiev and anti-government protesters in southeast Ukraine is
key to ending the crisis, Putin said.
It is now essential “to create the necessary conditions for this dialogue,” he added.
This, however, would require rescheduling the referendum, which anti-government
activists scheduled on May 11 to determine the fate of southeast Ukraine.
“We are calling for southeast Ukraine representatives, supporters of federalization of
the country, to postpone the May 11 referendum to create the necessary conditions
for dialogue,” Putin said at a press conference with OSCE Chairperson-in-Office and
Swiss President Didier Burkhalter in Moscow.
In response to Putin’s offer, one of the leaders of the self-proclaimed Donetsk
People’s Republic, Denis Pushilin, said the possibility would be discussed Thursday.
“We respect Putin’s position. He is a balanced politician. So we will submit this
proposal tomorrow to the people’s council,” he said.
President Vladimir Putin also said that Russia has withdrawn its troops from the
“We have been told that our troops on the Ukrainian border are a concern – we have
withdrawn them. They are now not on Ukrainian territory, but at locations where they
conduct regular drills at ranges,” he said.
Earlier, German Chancellor Angela Merkel suggested holding “roundtable discussions,”
a proposal that Moscow fully supports, Putin added.
Moscow and the OSCE agree substantially on the approach to resolving the situation
in Ukraine, Putin said, adding that negotiations had made it clear.
Source: Al Manar
Newscast Media KIEV—NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen says the
alliance is strengthening its military presence on its eastern borders in response to
the crisis in Ukraine.
Speaking after a meeting in Brussels of the North Atlantic Council, NATO’s main
political decision-making body, Rasmussen said the alliance will be making new military
deployments by sea, air, and land “within days.”
He said there will be “more planes in the air, more ships on the water, more readiness
on the land.”
Rasmussen didn’t reveal operational details or numbers about the new deployments.
But he said there will be more “air policing” in the Baltic region, and that allied ships
will be deployed in the Baltic Sea, eastern Mediterranean, and elsewhere if required.
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