Servicemen patrol in the village of Katerynivka, disengagement area of government and Russian-backed rebel troops, in the eastern Ukrainian region of Luhansk, Ukraine on Nov. 2, 2019.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed America’s “unwavering support” for Ukraine, as NATO members meet to discuss Russia moving troops and military equipment into Crimea.
Blinken reached out to Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on Wednesday and “affirmed the United States’ unwavering support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in the face of Russia’s ongoing aggression in the Donbas and Crimea,” the State Department said in a statement.
Earlier this week, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan spoke to his Ukrainian counterpart in the face of “continuing aggression.”
NATO members also met this week to discuss the Russian military buildup in the disputed territory.
“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,” a NATO official said.
“Russia’s destabilising actions undermine efforts to de-escalate tensions.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky reiterated the same claim.
“Playing with muscles in the form of military exercises and possible provocations along the border is a traditional Russian affair,” Zelenskiy said.
“In this way, it (Russia) seeks to create an atmosphere of threat and, at the same time, of pressure during the ceasefire negotiations and for peace as our value.”
Ukraine and Russia have traded blame for the recent increase in violence in the Donbass region where the two nations’ troops have been fighting since 2014 in a conflict that has killed more than 14,000 people, according to estimates from Kyiv.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the US military was aware of the Russian troop movements and said the escalations, including the killings of four Ukrainian soldiers last week, violate a 2020 ceasefire.
With Post wires