Moscow Says Half of Ukrainian Army Has Now Been Deployed To Donbass
By Staff, RT
Ukraine has now stationed well over 100,000 troops and large quantities of hardware in the war-torn Donbass region, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday morning, amid rising tensions.
Speaking at a briefing on Wednesday, Russia’s diplomatic spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said “the Armed Forces of Ukraine are increasing [their] military force, pulling heavy equipment and personnel.”
“According to some reports, the number of troops… in the conflict zone already reaches 125,000 people, and this, if anyone does not know, is half of the entire composition of the Armed Forces of Ukraine," she added.
Zakharova also condemned Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for submitting a bill to the national parliament that would allow units from foreign armed forces to enter the country as part of multinational exercises next year.
According to her, such a move directly contradicts the Minsk agreement, signed in 2014 in a bid to end the fighting between Kiev’s forces and troops loyal to two self-declared breakaway republics.
This comes amid concerns from the Kremlin surrounding the deployment of American anti-tank missiles in the region close to Russia’s borders.
At the end of November, the head of Ukraine’s military intelligence service, Kirill Budanov, said advanced US-made Javelin systems had been tested by Kiev’s troops and had been deployed to Donbass.
A few hours later, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stated that it was a concerning development that increased the prospect of a full-blown conflict in the region. “In recent weeks, we have seen a stream of consciousness from the Ukrainian leadership – especially when it comes to the military – that is excessively inflamed and dangerous,” he said.
The conflict in Eastern Ukraine began following the events of the 2014 Maidan, with the two self-declared Donbass republics announcing they would no longer recognize Kiev’s authority.
Neither Russia nor Ukraine officially recognize them, however, and both sides have said in public that a peaceful settlement to end the stand-off must be found.