Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has warned the world about "misleading narratives" Russian President Vladimir Putin could voice during his upcoming annual address to the Federal Assembly.
"Once again, he might try to present Russia as a besieged fortress, surrounded by NATO and enemies," Kuleba told an online briefing on Tuesday, April 20.
Read alsoZelensky invites Putin to meet in Donbas (Video)"We are a country that has one of the longest borders with Russia," the top diplomat went on to explain. "We do not have NATO troops in Ukraine, but we do have over hundreds of thousands of Russian troops at our border."
"It is now in the hands of Ukraine and all those who stand for the respect for international law and sovereignty in Europe to demotivate Putin from making further aggressive steps," Kuleba added.
Russian military build-up along Ukraine 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.
- 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.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Moscow was trying to put pressure on Kyiv by amassing its military forces along the Russian-Ukrainian border.
- 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.
- The United States has renewed concerns about Russian military maneuvers along its border with Ukraine, charging that Moscow has now massed more troops in the area than when it invaded and seized Crimea seven years ago.