About 75 thousand Russian military personnel remain near the borders of Ukraine, said the President of this country Volodymyr Zelensky during the US Secretary of State visit to Kiev.
Near the border of Ukraine and the Russian Federation there still are about 75 thousand Russian servicemen, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky said. “We see only 3.5 thousand soldiers who began to withdraw and left the territory of the temporarily occupied Crimea Peninsula. So far, nowhere else we see a decrease. We believe that the decrease is slow and therefore there might be a probable threat,” he said on Thursday, May 6, during a joint press conference with US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken in Kiev.
In turn, Blinken noted that the Russian Federation had withdrawn some of its troops, but a significant number of Russian military personnel do still remain at the border with Ukraine. At the same time, he pointed to the ability of the Russian army to begin aggressive actions against Ukraine in a short time and warned that the United States was watching the Russian Federation’s actions.
Meanwhile, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg confirmed as well that tens of thousands of Russian troops remain at the border with Ukraine. The Russian Federation withdrew only part of troops, he said at a briefing in Brussels and stressed that the North Atlantic Alliance is still closely monitoring the situation.
Building up the Russian contingent on the border with Ukraine
In early spring, Russia transferred about 120 thousand soldiers and officers to the annexed Crimea and to the border with Donbass, raising fears in Ukraine and the West that Moscow was preparing for a war with Ukraine. Ukraine’s Ambassador to Germany Andriy Melnyk said that his country would be even more energetic in seeking NATO membership. The Russian Defense Ministry explained the transfer of troops as a reaction to the “threatening actions” of the North Atlantic Alliance and the need to check the combat readiness of the Russian army.
On April 22, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu announced the return to the points of permanent deployment of tens of thousands of servicemen, who in recent weeks had been transferred to the border with Donbass and to the annexed Crimea. At the same time, Shoigu ordered the troops to be ready for an immediate response if any “unfavorable developments in the areas of NATO Defender Europe exercises.” Meanwhile, Ukraine and the West are calling on the Russian Federation for a creative troops withdrawal.
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