Two Ukrainian soldiers have been killed by pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine over the past 24 hours, as reported by the Ukrainian military today, while Russian and US envoys discussed the situation in the region.
Kyiv has accused Moscow of building up its forces near Ukraine’s eastern border in recent weeks, and reports of separatist attacks on Ukrainian government forces have increased.
NATO has expressed concern over the growing Russian military build-up in the Donbas region, where Ukrainian troops have been fighting Russian-backed separatists since 2014 in a conflict that has claimed the lives of 14,000 people.
Moscow and Kyiv have long accused each other of not implementing the Minsk peace agreements.
The Kremlin announced yesterday that the movements of Russian troops near the border with Ukraine do not pose a threat to the neighboring country or anyone else. However, it is stressed that Russia would respond to the new sanctions imposed by Kyiv on Russian companies.
The United States and Britain, as well as EU and NATO countries, have expressed support for Ukraine.
The United States found reports of Russian military action on Ukraine’s border “credible” and asked Moscow to explain the “provocations” and is ready to intervene, the US State Department said yesterday.
Today, the Russian agency TASS reported that according to the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, Russian and US delegates discussed the situation in southeastern Ukraine.
Yesterday, Ryabkov noted that Russia had high-level contacts with the United States over tensions in Ukraine.