Kiev amasses troops on Donbass border – official
Kiev has deployed some 40,000 troops to the border with the Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR), which recently became part of Russia, the region's top representative in Moscow, Rodion Miroshnik, has claimed.
"In the areas where attempts of a breakthrough are being made [by Kiev's forces], large quantities of manpower and hardware have been concentrated on the Ukrainian side,” Miroshnik said during an appearance on the Soloviev Live program on Friday.
According to estimates by the LPR’s forces, “we’re talking about 40,000 men,” the official added.
Kiev’s troops have been gathering to the north and northwest of the LPR, as well as in the area around the town of Krasny Liman in the neighboring Donetsk People’s Republic, from where Russian forces withdrew a week ago amid a Ukrainian offensive, Miroshnik elaborated.
On Wednesday, President Vladimir Putin signed into law unification treaties with the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, as well as Kherson and Zaporozhye Regions, officially making them part of Russia. The four territories overwhelmingly supported the move during referendums in late September.
Russia sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, citing Kiev’s failure to implement the Minsk agreements, designed to give the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk special status within the Ukrainian state. The protocols, brokered by Germany and France, were first signed in 2014. Former Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko has since admitted that Kiev’s main goal was to use the ceasefire to buy time and “create powerful armed forces.”
In February 2022, the Kremlin recognized the Donbass republics as independent states and demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join any Western military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked.