Following denunciations by Obama and United Nations ambassador Samantha Power over the downing of a Malaysian airliner, Pentagon Press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said Friday Russia is massing troops on its border with Ukraine.
Pentagon: Russian troops mass near Ukraine border http://t.co/Yvcu2VCiaS
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There are about 10,000 to 12,000 regular Russian combat troops inside their border with Ukraine, Kirby told reporters at a Pentagon briefing, an increase from a few weeks ago but a smaller force than the roughly 40,000 that were there earlier in the standoff.
Kirby also confirmed that defense officials have long observed movements of weapons and advisers from Russia to pro-Russian separatists inside Ukraine, although he said the Pentagon has not specifically seen a heavy, tracked surface-to-air missile launcher like the one believed to have shot down the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777.
In February Infowar.com reported that the Pentagon, NBC News and Russian media confirmed Russia was not massing troops on the border of Ukraine.
NATO made the claim after junta ambassador to the U.S. Olexander Motsyk said there were about 100,000 troops amassed at the Ukraine border.
“Western observers have found no evidence of a military build-up along Russia’s border with Ukraine, the Russian foreign ministry said on its website Friday,” The Wall Street Journal in late February.
“The statement from Russia’s foreign ministry referred to inspections by Ukrainian and Western observers as well as survey flights by German and U.S. planes over the border territory, all of which, it said, found no evidence of military escalation.”