Russia Denies US Media Reports on Possible Invasion of Ukraine
Following the publication of a US intelligence document accusing Russia of preparing to invade Ukraine, the Russian Foreign Ministry responded and denied the US allegations.
Today, Russia-based newspaper Kommersant quoted the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as saying that Russia denied news reports in the US media about a possible Russian attack on Ukraine, accusing Washington of trying to escalate the situation and holding Moscow responsible.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova was quoted by Kommersant as saying, “The [United] States is conducting a special operation to aggravate the situation around Ukraine while shifting the responsibility onto Russia.”
Zakharova added, “It is based on provocative actions near Russia’s borders accompanied by accusatory rhetoric.”
US intel: Moscow is moving 175,000 troops
According to The Wahington Post, Russia is allegedly planning an operation involving up to 175,000 troops as early as next year.
Moscow's plans "involve extensive movement of 100 battalion tactical groups with an estimated 175,000 personnel, along with armor, artillery, and equipment," a US administration official told the Post on condition of anonymity.
The Pentagon told AFP that it declines to comment on intelligence issues and that it was "deeply concerned" by evidence that Russia has made plans for "aggressive actions against Ukraine."
The Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov claimed that Russia has roughly 100,000 troops stationed near the Ukrainian border. Russia denies that it is bolstering its military.
"The most likely time to reach readiness for escalation will be the end of January," Reznikov said.
Following a visit with his Russian counterpart on Thursday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Washington had "deep concerns about Russia's plans for renewed aggression against Ukraine."
He warned Moscow of "serious consequences" if Russia "decides to pursue confrontation."