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Published On: Thu, May 8th, 2014

Putin Convened Russian Security Council – 15.000 Ukrainian Troops near Russian Border

nsnbc : Russia’s President Vladimir Putin convened the country’s Security Council to discuss matters of international policy and the deteriorating situation in Ukraine. Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov reported on Thursday, that a 15.000 troops strong Ukrainian military force has been staged near the Russian border.

Russian Security Council, Photo SANA

Russian Security Council, Photo SANA

The permanent members of Russia’s Security Council convened late Wednesday, after being called for an urgent meeting on international matters and the situation in Ukraine, said President Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Pescov.

Pescov added that the Council also discussed, in detail, the current situation in Ukraine, including the context of talks between President Putin and the Swiss President and OSCE Chairman-in-Office, Didier Burkhalter.

The permanent members of the Security Council who participated the urgent session Wednesday evening, are according to ITAR-TASS:

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Chief of the Presidential Staff Sergei Ivanov, speakers of both houses of parliament Valentina Matviyenko and Sergei Naryshkin, Secretary of the Security Council Nikolai Patrushev and his deputy Rashid Nurgaliyev, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev, Federal Security Service Director Alexander Bortnikov, Foreign Intelligence Service Director Mikhail Fradkov and permanent member of the Russian Security Council Boris Gryzlov.

Earlier on Wednesday, Putin met with OSCE Chair Didier Burkhalter to discuss the proposal of a roadmap for solving the crisis in Ukraine to the parties who signed the Geneva accord.

Putin urged the representatives of the rebelling regions in southeastern Ukraine to delay their referendum, scheduled for May 11, stressing that it is important that any referendum would be held under proper condition. The representatives of the the Donbas and Kharkov regions responded on Thursday, saying that it was the people’s decision to go ahead with the referendum as planned, stressing that it was impossible to trust the government in Kiev.

Putin also suggested direct talks between Kiev and the regional representatives, stressing that German Chancellor Merkel, last week, expressed her support for direct dialog.

Putin filePutin stressed as an absolute precondition for resolving the crisis, that Kiev immediately stops its punitive military actions in southeastern Ukraine, saying:

“Russia calls for an immediate halt to all military and punitive operations in the South-East of Ukraine. … this methods of settling the internal political conflict are not a reliable way of resolving all of the political disputes. … On the contrary, they deepen the divisions”. 

He added that the plan to hold elections was a “movement in the right direction”, but  that this step by itself is insufficient to change anything if the people in Ukraine don’t understand how it is that their rights will be guaranteed after the elections.

Troops deployed near Slavyansk. Image: ITAR-TASS

Troops deployed near Slavyansk. Image: ITAR-TASS

Meanwhile, Kiev continued and expanded the scope of its military operations in southeastern Ukraine.

On Tuesday, Ukraine’s acting president Alexandr Turchynov, issued a decree for the mobilization of all military aged men in Ukraine including reserves.

On Thursday, May 8, on the morning after last night’s Security Council meeting, the Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov reported the Ukraine is amassing a large military contingent near the Russian border. Antonov said:

“The 15,000-strong grouping of Ukrainian forces has been deployed in the border areas. Military conscription has resumed (in Ukraine). … At the same time, NATO amasses its grouping of forces in Eastern Europe”.

Image: ITAR-TASS/EPA/ANASTASIA VLASOVA

Image: ITAR-TASS/EPA/ANASTASIA VLASOVA

Antonov stressed that such actions are not contributing to the efforts to deescalate tensions in Ukraine and called on the official representatives of NATO and the Pentagon to:

“quit cynically deluding the international society on the real state of affairs on the Russian – Ukrainian border”.

On Wednesday, the Russian President stressed that Russia had pulled all of its forces away from the borders to Ukraine, saying that all troops are stationed at their usual training grounds.

Earlier on Wednesday, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen claimed that Russian forces were still present at the Ukrainian border. Putin rebuked Rasmussen, calling on the NATO Secretary General and others who are making such claims to provide evidence. Putin stressed that today’s technology, including satellite technology would easily afford that possibility if the statements about Russian troops were true.

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