The Russian troop movements near the Ukraine border do not pose a threat to that country or anyone, the Kremlin stressed on Monday.
The Russian armed forces often move troops into Russia, and they are there to ensure the country’s security, the authorities in Moscow said.
NATO, like Ukraine, is concerned about the growing number of troops in the area bordering the East Ukrainian region of Donbass. Since the change of power in the Ukrainian capital Kiev in 2014, a civil war has raged there, tempered by a fragile ceasefire.
The Kremlin supports the pro-Russian separatists. In recent days, there have been reports of fighting flaring up in the region, which lies nearly 600 kilometres southeast of Kiev.
Ukraine, meanwhile, accuses Moscow of building troops on the border. A senior Ukrainian government official, who wishes to remain anonymous, said the Russian army was in the process of improving “military coordination” with the separatists.
“Their combat units will be prepared for an offensive in mid-April.”