Russian officials have denied rumors spread by Western media and the US government that it is planning to invade Ukraine.
Bloomberg reported Sunday that the US has shared intelligence and maps to European allies that purportedly show Russia building up troops near its border with Ukraine to prepare for a large-scale invasion. Also on Sunday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the “hysteria” surrounding Ukraine is “being built up artificially.”
“The ones who are accusing us of some kind of unusual military activity on our own territory are themselves sending their armed forces from across the ocean. I mean the United States of America. It’s not very logical and not very decent,” Peskov said.
On Monday, the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) released a statement slamming the State Department for hyping up Russian troop movements in the region. Over the weekend, Secretary of State Antony Blinken suggested Russia might be planning an invasion.
The SVR said the State Department was spreading “absolute lies” about Russia. “The Americans are painting a horrible picture of Russian tank armadas crushing Ukrainian cities. It’s surprising to see a speed at which a formerly respectable foreign policy agency is turning into a mouthpiece of mendacious propaganda,” the SVR said.
On Monday, Peskov spoke on the issue again and pointed to Ukraine’s build-up of its military with the help of the US and NATO as a provocation in the region. “The number of provocations is growing and growing significantly. What’s more, these provocations are being carried out with weapons being supplied by NATO countries. And we are observing this with great alarm,” he said.
Since the 2014 US-backed coup in Kyiv, the US has provided Ukraine with over $2 billion in military aid, including Javelin anti-tank missiles. Ukraine’s military just confirmed that the missiles have been used in combat against separatists in the eastern Donbas region. Other NATO countries are also helping arm Ukraine. Last week, the UK signed a deal with Kyiv that will allow Ukraine to take loans from London to buy British warships.