NATO said on Thursday it was concerned about a Russian military build-up near Ukraine's borders, as NATO ambassadors met to discuss the recent spike in violence in Ukraine's eastern Donbas region.
A NATO official told Reuters that Moscow was undermining peace efforts in eastern Ukraine.
"Russia's destabilising actions undermine efforts to de-escalate tensions," the NATO official said.
"Allies shared their concerns about Russia's recent large scale military activities in and around Ukraine. Allies are also concerned about Russian violations of the July 2020 ceasefire that led to the death of four Ukrainian soldiers last week," the official said.
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- 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, the invaders are reinforcing their advanced units with reconnaissance teams and sniper pairs, involving Russian army instructors in personnel training. Russia-led forces are also keeping alert artillery units in combat readiness for use in certain areas, including in settlements located on the occupied territory of Ukraine.
- On March 31, The New York Times reported Russia was pulling 4,000 troops to the border with Ukraine.
- Footage was shared on the web, 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.