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Russia Needs to Answer Questions Regarding Military Buildup Near Ukraine

April 9, 2021 | BY Jim Garamone , DOD News

After numerous questions about a Russian buildup in Crimea and along the eastern border of Russia with Ukraine, Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby finally got a bit exasperated and told Pentagon reporters that "these are great questions to put to [Defense Minister Sergey] Shoygu in Moscow."

Spokesman gestures at podium.
Pentagon Presser
Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby holds a press briefing at the Pentagon, April 9, 2021.
Photo By: Air Force Staff Sgt. Jackie Sanders, DOD
VIRIN: 210409-D-XI929-2008

White House officials have classified the Russian buildup in the region as the largest since 2014, and many nations want to know why the Russians are doing this. NATO officials along with individual nations have asked Russia for an explanation and received weak responses about training or exercises. 

Kirby said he has consistently spoken about the Russian actions as a buildup, "precisely because we don't think that the Russians have been totally transparent about what they're doing," he said.

Kirby would not detail the scope of the Russian buildup or the equipment the Russian troops brought with them. He did say they are in Crimea — which is still part of Ukraine — and along the eastern border with Ukraine. 

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"I'm not going to talk about intelligence assessments or what we're seeing," Kirby said. "What we call on, is for the Russians to do exactly that, to tell the world what they're doing, and with what forces, and what capabilities, and what their intentions are."

The buildup "is only causing more instability and more insecurity in a part of the world where there's already been too much strife and too much violence," Kirby said.