US Secretary of State Anthony Blingen issued a similar statement. Russia has withdrawn some troops from the Ukrainian border. “Significant forces” are still stationed there, and in principle helped Russia to “act aggressively” in the short term, Blinken said during a visit to Ukraine, which was already seen as a strong sign of US support for Kiev.
According to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Selenskij, only 3,500 Russian troops withdrew from the Crimean Black Sea Peninsula, which was annexed by Russia in 2014. Elsewhere, the strength of the troops could not be reduced. “So there is danger,” he said in a meeting with Blingen. According to Western military experts, about 28,000 Russian soldiers are permanently stationed in Crimea.
After the deployment of a large number of Russian troops on the border with Ukraine, there were recent international concerns that the conflict between Russia and Ukraine may escalate again. Moscow has announced the sending of recent troops with military maneuvers. It was announced about two weeks ago that the soldiers involved would return to their traditional military bases.
Federal Defense Minister Annegret Gromb-Karanbauer (CDU) said there was a clear intention that “repeated attempts to provoke” were a strategy on the part of the Russian side. Ukraine, but NATO and Europe will also be advised not to engage in this game. The latest developments will see in the next few weeks whether the “sham relaxation” or Russia will increase again.
“We will continue to work with our allies to ensure that Ukraine is able to defend itself,” said Blingen, who continues to assist Kiev. But he also called for more reforms. Kiev must fight corruption and reform the justice system.
From the annexation of Crimea by Russia and the support of rebels loyal to the Kremlin in the Donbass, Kiev saw its existence threatened by neighboring Russia. UN It is estimated that more than 13,000 people have been killed in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. A peace plan agreed in 2015 with the participation of Germany and France has been put on hold.
Despite the current ceasefire, about 60 people have been killed in the conflict area since the beginning of this year alone. It was only on Thursday that the army re-informed about a soldier who had been killed and wounded. The Luhansk separatists had talked about someone who had died in their ranks the previous evening.