US expresses concerns over Russia-Ukraine military tensions

Ukraine bans Russian wheat, sunoil

Ukraine bans Russian wheat, sunoil

"Russia, under the guise of control exercises for the winter period of combat readiness exercises and general preparation for the future joint strategic exercises Zapad-2021 (West 2021), the Russian armed forces are gradually increasing troops near the state border of Ukraine in the north, east and south", Khomchak said, speaking at an extraordinary meeting of the Verkhovna Rada on Tuesday.

He accused Moscow of seeking to create "a threatening atmosphere" as Kiev hopes to resume a ceasefire brokered a year ago.

Pentagon response: Pentagon leaders are expressing their concerns to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies about the renewed fighting in Eastern Europe, which killed four Ukrainian soldiers on March 26 and wounded two more, as well as the buildup of Russian forces, spokesperson John Kirby said Wednesday.

The top Pentagon general called counterparts in Russia and Ukraine Wednesday (31 March) as the US Defense Department expressed concerns about a reported buildup of Russian troops along Ukraine's border and in Crimea.

Some observers say the reported Russian troop buildup is a test for the administration of US President Joe Biden, who caused an uproar in Moscow last month by calling his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin a "killer".

This week, Moscow and Kiev blamed each other for a rise in violence between government forces and Kremlin-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine, which has undermined the ceasefire.

Austin said during the call that Washington would "not leave Ukraine alone in the event of escalating Russian aggression", the ministry said.

Ukraine bans Russian wheat, sunoil

"Up to 12 battalion tactical groups are additionally held on the territory of Rostov region with a readiness period of one or two days, which provides the minimum necessary set of measures for an immediate response to possible military actions on the part of Ukraine", he said.

"We obviously don't want to see any more violations of Ukrainian territory", Kirby said.

Khomchak denounced the "threat to the military security" of Ukraine by the Russian army, saying that some 28,000 separatist fighters and "more than 2,000 Russian military instructors and advisers" are now stationed in eastern Ukraine.

"It should not worry anyone and does not pose a threat to anyone", Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday.

Since 2014, Russia's annexation of Crimea not only triggered a deadly conflict with Ukraine, but also strained the Kremlin's ties with Western nations.

U.S. forces in Europe were placed on a heightened watch level to "potential imminent crisis" in response to Russian activities, Kirby confirmed.

Gen. Mark Milley, chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, discussed the security situation by phone with his Russian and Ukrainian counterparts separately on Wednesday, according to a readout from his office.

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