TIME Ukraine

Russia Now Has 20,000 Troops on Ukraine Border, NATO Warns

Dmitry Lovetsky—AP Local residents sit near an entrance to a bomb shelter as they exit to get some fresh air during a short cease fire in Petrovsky district in the city of Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, Aug. 5, 2014.

Build-up of combat-ready troops on eastern border of Ukraine is of "great concern"

Russia has built up a 20,000-man force of combat-ready troops on Ukraine’s eastern border, NATO warned Wednesday, and could use the force to stage a ground invasion.

The troop presence includes tanks, infantry, artillery, air defense systems, as well as logistics troops, special forces, and various aircraft, Reuters reports.

“We’re not going to guess what’s on Russia’s mind, but we can see what Russia is doing on the ground – and that is of great concern,” NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu said in an emailed statement to Reuters. NATO is concerned that Russia could use “the pretext of a humanitarian or peace-keeping mission as an excuse to send troops into Eastern Ukraine,” Lungescu said.

Earlier this year, Russia amassed a force of some 40,000 troops close to the Ukraine border but had reduced that force to less than 1,000. The Kremlin is now growing the number of troops again, as Ukrainian troops engage with separatist forces in cities to the east of the country.

The shooting down of a Malaysia Airlines jet in eastern Ukraine in July, allegedly by Russia-backed separatists, sparked a new round of international sanctions against Russia. The European Union and the United States agreed to a further round of sanctions against the country last week over its actions in Ukraine.




Tap to read full story

Your browser is out of date. Please update your browser at http://update.microsoft.com


Dear TIME Reader,

As a regular visitor to TIME.com, we are sure you enjoy all the great journalism created by our editors and reporters. Great journalism has great value, and it costs money to make it. One of the main ways we cover our costs is through advertising.

The use of software that blocks ads limits our ability to provide you with the journalism you enjoy. Consider turning your Ad Blocker off so that we can continue to provide the world class journalism you have become accustomed to.

The TIME Team