Ukraine is seeing no major pullback of Russian troops from the areas bordering the country, says Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba.
The minister made the statement in an interview with DW, answering a journalist's question about de-escalation along Ukraine borders.
"Firstly, we are not seeing the withdrawal of Russian troops, which would be adequate to the number of forces amassed along the border of Ukraine and the occupied territories. What's happening cannot be called a withdrawal of troops," the minister said.
What has really changed is the deployment of military units. This is true, but the threat hasn't gone anywhere. You know, in the Soviet Union there were show trials, trials without any justice served whatsoever. And what we are seeing today is the withdrawal of troops without withdrawal of troops. So we must remain vigilant in this regard," the top diplomat concluded.
Read alsoRussia's invasion from Crimea still possible despite announced pullback – chief border guardRussian troops massing along Ukraine's borders: Background
- 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.
- 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.