Intelligence denies any plans to invade Ukraine

The Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) on Monday described as “absolutely false” claims that Moscow is preparing an invasion of Ukraine, after several Western countries expressed their concern.

The United States is providing its allies “absolutely false information about a concentration of (Russian) forces on our territory with a view to a military invasion of Ukraine,” SVR said in a statement sent to Russian news agencies . “The Americans paint a terrifying picture with hordes of Russian tanks preparing to crush Ukrainian cities, assuring that they have” reliable information “on such intentions of Russia”, he denounced.

American concerns

These statements, unusual on the part of the Russian secret services, come amid escalating tensions between Moscow and Western countries over Ukraine. The United States, NATO and the European Union have expressed in recent weeks their deep concern about Russian troop movements around Ukraine, the scene since 2014 of a conflict between Kiev and pro-Russian separatists in the Ukraine. is.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken reiterated on Saturday that the United States had “serious concerns about Russia’s unusual military activities on the border with Ukraine”. The 2014 war in Ukraine, which broke out shortly after Moscow’s annexation of Crimea, has claimed more than 13,000 lives to date.

Pro-Russian rebels

Russia is widely seen as the military godfather of pro-Russian separatists, which it denies. Moscow has repeatedly denied any hostile project towards Ukraine, the Kremlin denouncing Sunday an American “hysteria”.

In a telephone interview with Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, Russian President Vladimir Putin even accused Kiev of increasing “provocations” in eastern Ukraine and “worsening the situation”, using in particular ” prohibited weapons ”, according to a statement from the Kremlin. Moscow has repeatedly criticized Kiev in recent days for using a Turkish-made drone against pro-Russian separatists.

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Tensions at the borders

On Monday, the SVR also accused the Ukrainian army of advancing beyond the dividing line that separates it from the separatists, and of “concentrating forces” on the border with Russia and Belarus. Kiev had already announced that it would deploy several thousand soldiers on its border with Belarus because of the migration crisis that Minsk is accused of orchestrating at the gates of several European countries.

The head of Ukrainian diplomacy Dmytro Kouleba, however, rejected Monday the “false” accusations according to which Kiev “is preparing a military aggression”, adding that his country “is working hard” to restart talks sponsored by France and Germany.

Last week, Vladimir Putin also accused the West of fueling tensions on Ukraine’s eastern borders and the Black Sea by carrying out military exercises there. He said in particular that Western bombers had approached 20 km from Russia. These tensions are part of a larger context of increasing tensions between Washington and Moscow, despite the desire for appeasement displayed by Vladimir Putin and his American counterpart Joe Biden.

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