Following weekend reports of increasing Russian troop levels along the border with Ukraine, officials in Kiev on Monday said Moscow has ignored pleas to discuss the situation, while the Kremlin denied knowledge of such requests — and made pointed commentary about the United States.
The Russian troop movements since March have spawned speculation and jitters in Ukraine, where authorities draw parallels to similar movements that preceded Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea. Currently, Russia has stationed more than 40,000 troops in Crimea, and another 40,000 near the eastern border with Ukraine, according to Yulia Mendel, a spokesperson for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Additionally, recent videos and photographs on social media appear to show a menacing buildup of force, while Zelensky’s office says that Russia soon will double the group that has massed near the border. Ukraine on Monday claimed that Russia rebuffed attempts for the two countries’ leaders to talk directly.