A Ukrainian soldier stands in front of Pro-Russian Civilians at a checkpoint near the town of Slaviansk in eastern Ukraine.(Reuters / Baz Ratner)
Ukraine has deployed 15,000 troops on its border with Russia, while NATO continues beefing up its forces in Eastern Europe, Russian Defense Ministry stated as the military alliance and Pentagon accuse Moscow of keeping armed forces close to Ukraine. “The 15,000-strong grouping of Ukrainian forces has been deployed in the border areas. Military conscription has resumed [in Ukraine],” Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said in a statement on Thursday. “At the same time NATO amasses its grouping of forces in Eastern Europe,” he stressed, adding that such actions are not contributing to the efforts to de-escalate tensions in Ukraine. Antonov said Russia has pulled all its forces from its borders with its crisis-torn neighbor. He echoed President Vladimir Putin’s statement on Wednesday, when the Russian President assured OSCE Chairperson-in-Office and Swiss President Didier Burkhalter that Russian troops were relocated to ranges where they conduct regular drills. More