NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says tens of thousands of Russian troops remain in and around Ukraine.
He announced this at a joint press conference with Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas at the NATO headquarters on Tuesday, May 25.
"While Russia has pulled back some troops, tens of thousands remain in and around Ukraine, as well as significant amounts of weapons," he said.
Read alsoRussia continues keeping troops, arms near Ukraine's border – Commander-in-ChiefStoltenberg added that Russia continues to restrict navigation in the Black Sea, including near the Kerch Strait. The Secretary General said, "This is part of a pattern of aggressive actions, which raise serious concerns." He added that NATO would remain vigilant, continue to strengthen its deterrence and defense, and support its partners.
Russian military build-up along Ukraine borders, in occupied Crimea
- In March 2021, Russia 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 preparations for military drills.
- Fifteen warships of Russia's Caspian Flotilla entered the Black Sea. Russia also relocated Su-25SM3 warplanes from Russia's Stavropol Krai (Territory) to occupied Crimea.
- On April 22, 2021, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said his country would begin the withdrawal of troops, which had taken part in military exercises in occupied Crimea and near the borders of Ukraine, to their permanent bases in the Southern and Western Military Districts.
- On May 6, 2021, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the Russian Federation had withdrawn only 3,500 troops from occupied Crimea out of tens of thousands of military personnel deployed on the borders and temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine.
- On May 13, the U.S. Mission to the OSCE said Russia had deployed a variety of heavy weaponry to occupied Crimea, including T-72B3 battle tanks, 120mm mortars, 122mm howitzers, and armored vehicles.