Ukraine took steps Friday to demand answers from Russia within the next 48 hours following months of persistent and uncertain military aggression along their shared border.
Russia continues to deny any intent to invade the former Soviet nation despite its troop buildup of not only an estimated 100,000 troops in Russia, but the deployment of another 30,000 Russian troops to neighboring Belarus.
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“We have officially triggered the risk reduction mechanism in accordance with para. III of the Vienna Document, and requested Russia to provide detailed explanations on military activities in the areas adjacent to the territory of Ukraine and in the temporarily occupied Crimea,” Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba said on Twitter Friday.
Kuleba said Ukraine has requested detailed information on Moscow’s objectives to include the location of its military forces, equipment and any dates relating to the completion of all activities in the region.
“Russia has 48 hours to reply,” he added.
The foreign minister said the request has been made in accordance with the Vienna Document signed by the 56 participating states in the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSEC).
Kuleba did not go into detail as to what would occur should Russia ignore Kyiv’s demands, but said, “We will keep using all diplomatic means to ensure security of Ukraine.”
US and NATO forces have responded to Russia’s military build-up by sending troops to nations in Eastern Europe like Poland and Romania.
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US security officials have warned that the Kremlin could attempt to fabricate an excuse for its aggressive actions and even a Ukrainian incursion – a concern that appears increasingly likely as Russia continues to allege exterior forces are the aggressors.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov took to Twitter Friday and said, “Russia’s armed forces are on their own territory as distinct from the millions of thousands of British military troops deployed in the Baltics.”
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg warned Thursday during a press conference with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson that Europe faces a “dangerous moment.”
The State Department on Thursday issued a level 4 travel advisory for Ukraine, telling Americans who remain in the country to “depart now.”
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And President Biden in an interview with NBC urged all Americans in Ukraine to “leave now.”
The White House said Friday that Biden scheduled a call with chief allies like the UK, Canada and other NATO partners to discuss “diplomacy and deterrence.”