World Kremlin says not moving towards war with Ukraine
Ukraine accuses Russia of ‘muscle-flexing’ as tensions rise
Kremlin spokesman plays down military build-up, says Russia taking measures to ensure the security of its own borders.Unverified social media footage has suggested Russia has been moving large quantities of tanks, armoured personnel carriers and other equipment to regions that border Ukraine, as well as to Crimea, which Moscow annexed from Ukraine in 2014.
The Kremlin on Sunday said it was not moving towards war with Ukraine as Russia increased its military presence on the border with Ukraine's eastern breakaway territories.
In recent weeks fighting has intensified between Ukraine's army and pro-Russian separatists controlling two regions in the country's east, raising concerns of major escalation in the long-running conflict.
"Of course, nobody is planning to move towards war and in general, nobody accepts the possibility of such a war," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in a televised interview on Sunday.
Moscow warns West against sending troops to back Ukraine
Moscow warned the West Friday against sending troops to Ukraine to buttress its ally, after Kiev accused Moscow of building up troops on its border. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday accused Russia of massing troops on the border and Washington pledged to stand by Ukraine in the event of Russian "aggression". Weeks of renewed frontline clashes have raised fears of a an escalation of the long-simmering conflict in eastern Ukraine, where Kiev's forces are battling pro-Russian separatists.Speaking to reporters on Friday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia would be forced to respond if the US sent troops to Ukraine.
President Vladimir Putin's spokesman added that "nobody also accepts the possibility of civil war in Ukraine".
Peskov insisted that Moscow is not involved in the conflict, adding, however, that Russia "will not remain indifferent" to the fate of Russian speakers who live in the conflict-torn region.
"Russia is making every possible effort to help resolve this conflict. And we will continue to explain this tirelessly," Peskov said.
Ukraine has accused Russia of amassing thousands of military personnel on its northern and eastern borders as well as on the annexed Crimean peninsula.
The Kremlin has not denied the troop movements but insisted that Moscow does not intend to threaten anyone.
The White House this week said the number of Russian troops at the border with Ukraine was now greater than at any time since 2014, when the conflict erupted after Russia's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.
Fighting subsided in 2020 as a ceasefire agreement took hold last July, but clashes have picked up again since the start of the year, with each side blaming the other.
On Thursday Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky visited the eastern frontline, speaking with soldiers in the trenches.
According to the president, 26 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed since January, compared to 50 in all of 2020.
Since 2014, the conflict in Ukraine's east has claimed more than 13,000 lives and displaced many others, while negotiations for a lasting peace deal have stalled.
Paris talks seek to defuse growing Russia-Ukraine tensions .
French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel were to hold talks Friday with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in a show of support for his pro-Western government after a Russian military build-up on its eastern borders raised fears of an invasion. The tensions have escalated seven years after the 2014 annexation of Ukraine's Crimea by Moscow and declaration of breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine by pro-Russian separatists prompted the worst decline in ties between Russia and the West since the Cold War. Macron received Zelensky for lunch in Paris and both men were to talk later with Chancellor Angela Merkel by video link.