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Ukraine says Russia masses troops on Ukraine border

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The Ukrainian government accused Russia on Thursday of massing around 4,000 troops on the border of Russian-annexed Crimea and Ukraine, as multiple Crimean residents also reported seeing troop movements.

“According to our information, almost all military units of the Russian Federation stationed in the north of occupied Crimea… were pushed to the administrative border with Ukraine along with all their equipment and ammunition,” said National Security and Defence Council spokesman Andriy Lysenko.

He said the units, totaling about 4,000 troops, were deployed in “small tactical groups” along the border in Crimea, the Ukrainian Black Sea peninsula that Russia annexed in March.

Ukraine’s border service said Thursday that Russia was also using drones for air reconnaissance, with border guards reporting three cases of the use of drones in the last 24 hours, one near Mariupol in eastern Ukraine, and two on the Crimean border.

Crimea residents, who asked for their surnames not to be published, told AFP they had noticed recent Russian troop movements going towards the border.

“Tanks and some types of artillery were clearly seen moving on open railway cars through the station of Krasnoperekopsk towards Ukraine. I saw them myself,” Sanie, a resident of the town of Krasnoperekopsk close to the border, told AFP.

She said that her friends in the village of Ishun, close to the highway that crosses the border, had also called her last week to say that “military hardware was going past all the time… about 20 at a time.”

“There were several of these convoys. The vehicles were closed and they couldn’t see what was inside: soldiers or equipment,” Sanie said.

A resident of the town of Dzhankoy southeast of the border, Muzafer, confirmed he had spotted troop movements around a week ago.

“It’s definitely the case that military vehicles were going towards the border then with soldiers,” he told AFP.

An AFP …read more

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