Ukraine and Russia Tensions Escalate As Ukraine President Accuses Russia Of 80,000 Troops In Crimea; U.S. NATO Warn Russia To Stop Violating INF Treaty

Wednesday, December 5, 2018
By Paul Martin

By Aaron Kesel
DECEMBER 5, 2018

Ukraine’s President, Peter Poroshenko, has accused Russia of having 80,000 troops, 1,400 artillery and missile systems, 900 tanks, 2,300 armored vehicles, 500 planes and 300 helicopters stationed on its border in Crimea. Meanwhile, NATO has accused Moscow of breaching the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, which banned land-based nuclear missiles in Europe during the Cold War.

“In general, around the territory of Ukraine, along the state border, in the temporarily occupied territories of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, a ground group with a total of more than 80 thousand servicemen, about 1400 artillery systems and rocket systems of a salvo fire, 900 tanks, 2300 armored combat vehicles, more 500 planes and 300 helicopters,” Poroshenko said.

He added that the waters of the Black, Azov, and Aegean seas are used to carry out tasks of more than 80 ships and 8 submarines.

Ukraine has also taken steps to reinforce the port of Mariupol after a blockade by Russia, Global News reported.

The country has even accused Russia of having plans in the works to link Crimea to eastern Ukraine and to arm Crimea with a fourth S-400 surface-to-air missile battalion, Express reported.

The Kremlin responded by stating that the Ukrainian accusation that Russia has designs on the ports of Mariupol and Berdyansk to create a land corridor between Crimea and eastern Ukraine were “absurd.”

The Ukrainian president further made a mention of Russia’s capture of Ukrainian ships in the Kerch Strait last week and said that the “right internal response” was an increase in troops with weapons and equipment in the region.

Poroshenko said Ukraine reservists will be assembled for training as part of the martial law he declared at the end of last month in response to the incident in Kerch Strait.

Poroshenko stated that some military units will also be redeployed to strengthen the nation’s defenses as tensions between the neighboring countries escalate to boiling point.

“Ukraine is taking its own steps in response to the threat of a large-scale Russian invasion,” the Ukraine president said.

Poroshenko further called on Germany and its allies to boost their naval presence in the Black Sea to deter any potential Russian aggression.

To recap – Moscow was blamed for troop build-up in Ukraine in March a few months ago where Russia was said to have troops ready to launch a rapid invasion of Ukraine from the north and east, according to a March 8th report by the Institute for the Study of War, a U.S.-based defense think tank (which has since deleted the report) [archived]. Then Russia was blamed for the poisoning of a former Soviet spy and his daughter. Now Russia is being blamed for the downing of MH17 and more recently potential terrorism campaigns in Ukraine and a plot to assassinate a journalist. All without providing publicly viewable evidence that shows Russia helped plot terrorism.

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