President of the Republic of Finland Sauli Niinistö had a long phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday evening, during which he expressed his serious concern over Russia's military build-up near Ukraine's borders.
"The presidents spoke about the tense situation on the Crimean peninsula and at the border between Russia and Ukraine. President Niinistö expressed his serious concern over an escalation of the situation due to the troop movements and raised the need for dialogue and actions to reduce tensions," as reported by the Office of the President of the Republic of Finland.
Read alsoBorrell, Blinken discuss Russia's military build-up near UkraineIn turn, Putin told his counterpart about a recent conversation with U.S. President Joe Biden, which also concerned Ukraine.
Russian troops amassing 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, 2021, 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.
- 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.
- The United States, finding reports of Russian military movements on Ukraine's border credible, asked Moscow to explain the "provocations" and is ready to engage on the situation.
- On April 8, 2021, Khomchak assured the situation was under control, and the Ukrainian military was ready to respond to the escalation both in the temporarily occupied territory of Luhansk and Donetsk regions and along the entire Ukrainian-Russian border. He said, "We have foreseen appropriate measures of an immediate response to any provocation, to any enemy action."
- Russia's Defense Ministry said it had transferred two armies and three airborne units to its western borders.
- U.S. President Joe Biden on Tuesday had a phone call with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. Biden "emphasized the United States' unwavering commitment to Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity" and called on Russia to de-escalate tensions.