EU worried about Russian movements at Ukraine border

EU, UK, US closely monitoring developments at Russian-Ukrainian border, says EU spokesman.

BRUSSEL (AA) – The European Union is worried about Russian movements at the Ukraine border, an EU spokesman for external affairs said Friday.

Peter Stano responded to a question about whether the US warned the bloc that Russia is fortifying its military build-up at the Ukraine border and could be planning to invade.

He said that Ukraine is a neighbor to the EU and the bloc is following developments in the region.

Stano reiterated that the Russian military buildup in illegally annexing Crimea and around the Ukrainian border was discussed during a special meeting of EU foreign ministers in April.

The bloc has since been looking at ways to enhance Ukraine’s resilience, he said.

“We continue to watch the situation, and the information we gathered so far is rather worrying,” said Stano.

He said the EU was monitoring the situation with partners, including the US and the UK, and is open to looking at further steps as necessary.

Earlier this month, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry said Russia continued its military buildup near its border and stationed 90,000 Russian troops.

The Pentagon demanded on Wednesday that Moscow be transparent with the international community about its actions and intentions in the region.

But Russia has maintained that any troop movements within its territory are an internal matter.

The Kremlin’s actions are similar to those that began in March, when estimates put the number of Russian troops near the Ukraine border and within the Crimean Peninsula at around 100,000, along with a sizable buildup of military hardware.

Russia seized and occupied Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and remains the de facto authority there. Moscow also that year began to support separatist forces in eastern Ukraine against the central government, a policy that it has maintained in the past seven years.

Its spring buildup led to concerns of an imminent invasion of Ukraine but Moscow drew down its forces beginning in April.


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