The United States on Wednesday denied reports that Russia is withdrawing its forces from its border with Ukraine, accusing Moscow instead of sending up to 7,000 more troops. Follow France 24 for live updates.
6:28 a.m. Paris time: Russia said a new video shows troops returning to bases after exercises, and the Russian Defense Ministry published a video on Thursday that it said shows troops and military equipment from the Tank Army of the Western Military District returning to their permanent deployment bases after the exercises.
The ministry said that tanks and armored vehicles will travel about 1,000 km by rail.
Western countries warned, on Wednesday, of an increased Russian military presence on Ukraine’s borders, contradicting Moscow’s insistence on withdrawing.
6:12 Paris time: Russia-backed rebels accuse Ukrainian government forces of mortar attacks, Russia-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine accused Kiev government forces on Thursday of using mortars to attack their territory, in violation of agreements aimed at ending the conflict, agency reported Russian media. agency said.
Russia has massed more than 100,000 troops near Ukraine’s border while demanding that NATO not accept Kiev as a member. The West threatened Moscow with new sanctions if it attacked Ukraine; Russia denies planning any attacks.
There have been reports of sporadic shooting in rebel-held areas on both sides in recent years. But an escalation of the years-long conflict with the Donbass separatists could stoke tension between Russia and the West.
According to the RIA report, representatives of the self-declared Luhansk People’s Republic said that Ukrainian forces used mortars, grenade launchers and a machine gun on Thursday.
“The Ukrainian armed forces brazenly violated the ceasefire regime, using heavy weapons, which must be withdrawn in accordance with the Minsk agreements,” Interfax news agency quoted representatives of the Luhansk region in the Ukrainian-Russian ceasefire monitoring group.
1:15 a.m. Paris time: U.S. Vice President Harris meets with Ukraine’s Zelensky in Munich, U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris will meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on the sidelines of this week’s annual Munich Security Conference, a senior White House official said Wednesday.
The official said the meeting, scheduled for Saturday, would be “a real opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
12:45 a.m. PARIS TIME: Russia has added “up to 7,000 troops”, claims of withdrawal are “false”, a US official said, Russia has increased its presence on the border with Ukraine by “up to 7,000”, some of whom arrived on Wednesday, a senior official said. The White House, without providing evidence. The official criticized Moscow’s announcement of the withdrawal, describing it as “false”, adding: “We are still receiving indications that they may launch a false excuse at any moment to justify the invasion.”
The official, who asked not to be named, added that while Moscow said it wanted a diplomatic solution, its actions “indicate otherwise”.
Earlier on Wednesday, the United States and NATO joined Ukraine in saying there was no sign of Russian forces withdrawing after military moves in occupied Crimea fueled reports that the crisis may be waning.
(France 24 with Agence France-Presse and Reuters)