Russia Build-Up Sparks Fears of Full Scale Invasion
Nearly 100,000 Russian troops are now gathered along Ukraine's border, according to a Kiev official. That's 50,000 more than the U.S. estimate.
"Russian troops aren't in Crimea only. They're along all Ukrainian borders. They're in the south, the east and the north," Andriy Parubiy, chairman of Ukraine's national security council, told Agence France-Press.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Russian troops are concealing their positions and preparing supply lines, prompting many to wonder whether Moscow is planning another incursion into Ukraine.
There's also concern that Russia will use protection of Russian minorities as an excuse to invade.
***Is Russia merely conducting military exercises or are its motives more sinister? CBN News Sr. International Reporter George Thomas addressed that question and more on CBN Newswatch, March 28.
Ukraine's acting prime minister recently voiced that very possibility in response to Ukrainian protests over the death of a far right political leader.
"This is the route which leads to catastrophe for the country," Prime Minister Oleksandr Turchynov said. "This way is against our own state. This is the route supporting the aggressor who is concentrating his armed forces on the borders of our land."
Meanwhile, President Barack Obama is urging Russia to pull back from the border.
"What we need right now to resolve and de-escalate the situation is for Russia to move back those troops and begin negotiations with the Ukrainian government directly as well as the international community," Obama admonished.
Obama spoke directly with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday, urging him to pull back his troops. The Russian leader initiated the hour-long phone call to discuss the Ukranian crisis.
The U.N. General Assembly is also backing Ukraine, affirming its territorial integrity in a resolution passed Friday. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Andriy Deshchytsia said the move shows just how isolated Russia is internationally.
"The rest of the world is for a peaceful solution of the conflict and for the support of the existing internationally recognized borders," Deshchytsia said.
But so far, it appears that no country will come to Ukraine's defense should the need arise.
Obama signaled to Russia this week that it would face a swift response if it encroaches on any NATO country.
However, he made no such promise to defend Ukraine - other than warning of more economic sanctions should Russia push further into the Eastern European nation.