WASHINGTON, July 28, 2014 —
Russian troops continue to mass along the border with Ukraine, and heavy and sophisticated Russian equipment continue to flow across the border to Russian-backed Ukrainian separatists, Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren said today.
Around 12,000 Russian combat troops remain along Ukraine’s southern and eastern borders, the colonel told reporters at the Pentagon, noting that Russian equipment crosses the border into Ukraine with impunity.
“I can tell you that last week we saw a column of over 100 Russian vehicles moving into Ukraine,” Warren said. “That’s the largest one we’ve seen. It is a substantial enough number that is a great concern to us.”
Heavy and sophisticated equipment requires trained personnel, he said. “What we’ve seen that most concerns us is in southern Russia, Ukrainian separatists participating in training activities … around Rostov,” he added. “This indicates that Russia is, in fact, training these separatists on how to fight, how to operate equipment [and] how to conduct operations in Ukraine.”
More equipment could be quickly moved in to Ukraine, the colonel said. “What the Russians do is posture equipment along the border … in such a way that it can move at any time,” Warren said.
On July 25, Russian artillery fired across the border into Ukraine. U.S. officials continue to urge Russia to de-escalate the tensions along its border with Ukraine.
(Follow Jim Garamone on Twitter: @GaramoneDoDNews)