REUTERS

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has had a phone conversation with his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian to discuss Russia's aggravation of the security situation.

Kuleba briefed his French counterpart on actions by the Russian Federation aimed at destabilizing the security situation in the temporarily occupied territories of Donbas, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry's press service said.

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He also drew attention to the threatening built-up of Russian troops near the Ukrainian border.

Le Drian, in turn, noted that France is also watching with concern the pulling of Russian troops to the borders of Ukraine and in the temporarily occupied territories. He pledged France's continued support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. He "especially noted the balanced and wise actions of Ukraine" in the current situation, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said.

Kuleba expressed his conviction that France is capable of revitalizing the efforts of the Normandy format for a peaceful settlement. In turn, Le Drian confirmed that the French side is interested in the Normandy format remaining effective and efficient.

The Ukrainian Foreign Minister noted that "clear and strong public signals" of the international community in support of Ukraine are now important.

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.