U.S. Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Amanda Dory during a virtual meeting with NATO colleagues from Canada, Lithuania, Poland, and the United Kingdom have condemned Russia's military activity near the borders with Ukraine.
The meeting was hosted by UK Secretary of State for Defense Ben Wallace, as reported by the U.S. Department of Defense.
The leaders reaffirmed their unwavering support for Ukraine's sovereignty, territorial integrity, and Euro-Atlantic aspirations and discussed concerns about the increase in Russian military activity in the region. They declared Russia's destabilizing actions undermine the de-escalation in tensions achieved through the OSCE-brokered agreement on July 27, 2020.
Read alsoNATO Military Committee chair calls on Russia stop supporting its proxy forces in Donbas, pull troops out of UkraineThe leaders also reiterated their commitment to providing training and support to build the capacity of Ukraine's forces to preserve the country's territorial integrity and continue progress toward NATO interoperability.
Russian military buildup along Ukraine's borders
On March 30, 2021, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Colonel-General Ruslan Khomchak said Russia had deployed 28 battalion tactical groups along the state border of Ukraine and in the temporarily occupied territories. It is also said to be planning to bring up to 25 battalion tactical groups under the guise of preparing for military drills. Such actions pose a threat to Ukraine's military security.
According to the Armed Forces of Ukraine, enemy troops are reinforcing their advanced units with reconnaissance teams and sniper pairs, involving Russian army instructors in personnel training. Russia-led forces' artillery units are reportedly on full alert in certain districts, including villages and towns in occupied Ukrainian territory.
On March 31, The New York Times reported Russia was pulling 4,000 troops to the border with Ukraine.
Footage was shared on the Internet, showing a train with Russian military hardware en route along the Kerch Strait bridge to occupied Crimea.
Read alsoRussia continues pulling military hardware toward Ukraine's border (Video)The U.S. European Command raised its alert status to the highest level after fighting had resumed between Russia-led forces and Ukrainian troops in Donetsk region.
The U.S. Department of Defense said it was "aware of Russian troop movements" on Ukraine's borders and was concerned about recent escalations of Russian aggression in eastern Ukraine.