Tags: Russia | troops | border | mass

Ukraine Security Official: 100,000 Russian Troops Mass on Border

Thursday, 27 Mar 2014 07:57 PM

 

Nearly 100,000 Russian forces have massed on Ukraine's border, a top Ukrainian defense official told an American audience Thursday, giving a number far higher than U.S. military estimates.

"Almost 100,000 soldiers are stationed on the borders of Ukraine and in the direction ... of Kharkiv, Donetsk, " Andriy Parubiy, chairman of Ukraine's national security council, said via a webcast from Kiev.

"Russian troops are not in Crimea only, they are along all Ukrainian borders. They're in the south, they're in the east and in the north," Parubiy said.

After its intervention in the Crimean peninsula, Russia is plotting to foment separatist sentiment elsewhere and Kiev fears a possible incursion in the country's east, he told the Atlantic Council, a Washington think tank.

Parubiy said any day "we might see a huge attack on the territory of continental Ukraine and we are getting ready for it."

Although U.S. defense officials have put the number of Russian troops closer to 20,000, a U.S. lawmaker said Thursday that much stronger Russian forces had deployed towards Ukraine's border.

"Over the past week we've seen the buildup of up to 80,000 additional Russian troops," Rep. Mike Turner said in a statement.

Turner said the force included large numbers of armored vehicles, battle tanks, artillery, helicopters and planes.

The Ohio Republican accused the White House of witholding "critical" information about the full scope of Russian troop movements and demanded the adminstration reveal what it knows to help "vulnerable allies."

Pentagon officials previously have said more than 20,000 Russian troops — including airborne units and armored vehicles— have deployed along Ukraine's border, a force big enough to seize control of the eastern region.

But a senior defense official expressed skepticism at Parubiy's estimate of Russian troop strength.

"That sounds too high," the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told AFP.

Russia has assured Washington that the Russian forces were there to carry out a "spring" exercise but the Pentagon on Thursday acknowledged there was no indication of any drill underway.

"We've seen no specific indications that exercises are taking place," spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby told reporters.

He declined to discuss US intelligence assessments on the possibility of a Russian attack into eastern Ukraine but said the military presence only served to aggravate tensions.

Kirby said that "regardless of the intent it does nothing to de-escalate the tension in Ukraine.

"It does nothing to improve the stability in that part of the world."

Parubiy said the Ukrainian government supported moves by Western countries to impose punitive sanctions on Russia and appealed for a public display of military partnership to send a signal to Moscow over its actions.

"We are calling on our partners to hold a common military exercise" that would "show that the cooperation and partnership is still there," he said through an interpreter.

He urged "visible support, visible presence of our partners" at this moment of crisis.

The Russian troops that have deployed in Crimea were well-trained special forces, he said.

After Russia's takeover of Crimea, Moscow had launched a new strategy aimed at disrupting Ukraine's upcoming presidential elections in May, according to Parubiy.

Kiev authorities had "arrested" separatist leaders in the east and Moscow's attempts to provoke street demonstrations were faltering with fewer people turning out for the protests, he said.

President Barack Obama and NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen have both denounced Moscow's incursion into Crimea but have called for a diplomatic solution to the crisis.

NATO has bolstered its presence in Eastern Europe since Russia's intervention, deploying radar surveillance aircraft to the area while Washington has sent F-16 fighter jets to Poland.

Obama has ruled out military action in Ukraine, which is not a member of the NATO alliance.

© AFP 2015

Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

US Official: Paris Market Terrorist Had Camera to Video Attack

Friday, 30 Jan 2015 23:05 PM

Amedy Coulibaly, the terrorist who killed four people as part of terrorism attacks that rocked Paris earlier this month, . . .

Donald Trump: 'I Will Take Full Credit' for Romney Dropping Out

Friday, 30 Jan 2015 22:11 PM

A week ago, just before and during the Iowa Freedom Summit, real estate mogul Donald Trump was quick to call out two-tim . . .

Report: Hezbollah Tunnels May Make Gaza's Look Like 'Child's Game'

Friday, 30 Jan 2015 21:58 PM

After uncovering a Hamas underground tunnel network in last summer's Gaza war, the Israeli military has turned its atten . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved