KYIV, (BM) – US and Ukrainian defense ministers Lloyd Austin and Andriy Taran discussed the situation in Donbas. The US minister assured his Ukrainian counterpart of his readiness to support Kyiv in an “escalation of Russian aggression.” The Ukrainian defense ministry website published this statement on its website on Thursday.
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“Lloyd Austin expressed concern over the Russian Federation’s recent actions and conveyed to the Minister of Defense of Ukraine his assurances of his readiness to support Ukraine in the face of the ongoing Russian aggression in Donbas and Crimea. Realization of aggressive aspirations of the Russian Federation in Ukraine” said in a statement.
Taran informed the interlocutor about the military-political situation along the demarcation line with the territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, which are not under the control of Kyiv and in Crimea and around the state border of Ukraine.
He paid particular attention to the March 26 events near the village of Shumi, where four Ukrainian servicemen were killed. “Also, the head of the Ukrainian Department of Defense noted the systematic escalation of the security situation in the area of the Joint Forces operation and the reluctance of the Russian Federation to reaffirm its adherence to the ceasefire,” the Ukrainian Defense Ministry said in a statement.
What the Ukraine’s foreign minister said?
The build-up of Russian and Belarusian troops and weapons along the border with Ukraine continues to create tensions in this part of Europe. Ukraine’s foreign minister said late Thursday (April 1st) that Moscow is systematically aggravating the Donetsk and Luhansk regions’ security situation.
Moscow remains silent and refuses to withdraw Russian separatists in the area, which is the cause of security breaches and a ceasefire. “Russia’s current escalation is systemic, the largest in recent years,” Kuleba said and raised concerns about the Kremlin’s stance around the long-running conflict in the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine.
In recent years, as now, Russia’s actions have led to uncertainty, a dead end, and although the only way out is diplomacy, Moscow has not signaled that it is ready to sit at the negotiating table.
The Ukrainian Foreign Minister’s statement made it clear that Germany and France are mediators in the situation and are trying to convince the Kremlin of their participation in constructive talks. The United States, Canada, Britain, and NATO also want discussions on this pressing issue.
What Kremlin said?
Russia has the right to move troops to the country at its discretion; this does not pose a threat to other countries, said Russian President Dmitry Peskov’s spokesman.
Thus, he answered a Ukrainian journalist’s question about the transfer of Russian troops to the Ukrainian borders. “The Russian Federation is moving troops within its territory at its discretion; this should not bother anyone; it does not pose a threat to anyone,” Peskov stressed.
According to him, the Russian Federation is taking the necessary measures to ensure its borders’ security. “You know that along the perimeter of the borders of the Russian Federation, there is increased activity of the armed forces of NATO countries, other associations, individual governments, etc., etc. All this obliges you to be vigilant,” Peskov stressed.
“As for the participation of Russian troops in the armed conflict on the territory of Ukraine, Russian troops have never participated in it and do not participate in it. This is a highly internal Ukrainian conflict, and we, European countries, other countries would not want armed forces of Ukraine, the civil war in Ukraine flared up again,“ said Peskov.
Russia and Belarus have conducted exercises
In the Nizhny Novgorod region, at the Mulino training ground, as part of a joint exercise, service members of the Guards Tank Army of the Western Military District (ZVO) and servicemen of Belarus have worked out the maneuverable defense of tank and motorized rifle units to repel an offensive of a conditional enemy, the press service of the Western Military District reported.
“During the active phase of the exercise, tank and motorized rifle companies of Russia and Belarus fought a maneuvering battle with a change of firing positions. The servicemen were faced with the task of exhausting the enemy and luring them to prepared defensive lines, where the main forces were waiting,” the message says.
Also, as part of the exercise, the servicemen worked out the evacuation of a wrecked tank from the battlefield, field repairs, and the return of military equipment to service.
During the exercise, service members fired ammunition from T-72B3 tanks and BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicles from 800 to 2000 meters. Ground units covered the helicopter pairs Mi-24 “Crocodile” from the air. Having lured the enemy into the designated area, the BM-21 “Grad” multiple launch rocket systems opened fire, turning the conditional enemy forces to an unorganized flight, the press service added.
More than 500 servicemen and over 150 units of weapons, military, and special equipment are involved in the exercise. The joint battalion tactical exercise was the second stage of preparation for the West-2021 strategic command and staff exercise.
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