Russia deployed more troops to Ukraine border to ensure security – Kremlin
President Putin ordered increased security on the Russian-Ukrainian border a few weeks ago, and so Moscow is surprised by allegations about the concentration of Russian troops on its frontiers, Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov said.
“We are surprised by such claims about the concentration of Russian troops on the Ukrainian border. In this case, it’s not about any concentration of military forces, but about the measures to fortify the borders of the Russian Federation, the measures ordered directly by President Putin,” Peskov said.
Peskov said that the order was issued a few weeks ago and “received approval from European leaders.”
Presidential aide Yury Ushakov has said that President Vladimir Putin informed French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel about the steps Russia is taking.
Peskov declared that the measures at the border were taken due to the fact that “the cases of its breach, including the violations using military equipment, have become more frequent.”
“Concerning the quantity of the military forces, it’s determined by the requirements to ensure a sufficient level of security at the border,” he added.
On Thursday, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that there was a military build-up of Russian troops on Ukraine’s eastern border.
Rasmussen called the build-up “a regrettable step backward” and claimed that the troops “don't appear to be engaged in ‘border patrol' duties.”
"We now see a new Russian military build-up around the Ukrainian border. At least a few thousand more Russian troops are now deployed," Rasmussen said in London.
"It seems Russia keeps the option open to intervene further in Ukraine," he said. "The international community would have to respond in a firm manner if Russia were to intervene further in Ukraine."
On Friday, Ukrainian troops finished their operation to fortify the eastern border of the country with Russia, Ukrainian parliament speaker Aleksandr Turchinov said.
The National Security Council did not confirm the information, however.
“If the border was under the control of our troops, then we would give this news first, and this would mean a stage of victory and the transition to the president’s plan. Now that it’s not happening, we just speak about the dynamic of taking our territory under control,” the representative of the Security Council, Vladimir Chepovoy, told journalists.
The press service of the Donetsk People’s Republic also denied Turchinov’s claim.
“Concerning the borders of the Donetsk People’s Republic, it’s absolutely against reality. It’s just another disinformation needed because of the complete failure of the special operation of the Ukrainian troops in the Lugansk People’s Republic,” he said.
Lugansk authorities denied the information as well, calling the reports “complete nonsense.”
A few days earlier, the Ukrainian parliament called on President Petro Poroshenko to carry out the unilateral demarcation of state borders and to close the checkpoints on the Ukrainian-Russian border.
Demarcation, the process of determining the border between two states, cannot be carried out unilaterally, Russia has said.
However, there have been no signs from the Ukrainian forces that the borders will be closed, the Border Service said.
Checkpoint “Shebekino-Pletenyovka”, though, remains closed for Russians. Ukrainian border officials say that it’s due to last until June 26, but haven’t indicated the reasons behind it.