Russia ‘moves troops in Crimea’ ahead of Ukraine-US meet

Kiev on Thursday accused Moscow of massing its troops in annexed Crimea on the Ukraine border, rattling nerves just as President Petro Poroshenko prepared to meet US counterpart Barack Obama.

The apparent push north by about 4,000 troops in the Black Sea peninsula came despite Russia’s declared backing of a peace overture by Kiev to try to end five months of conflict in the rebellious east.

‘According to our information, almost all military units of the Russian Federation stationed in the north of occupied Crimea... were pushed to the administrative border with Ukraine along with all their equipment and ammunition,’ National Security and Defence Council spokesman Andriy Lysenko told reporters.

Poroshenko holds his first White House talks with Obama later on Thursday, seeking to gain security guarantees from Washington as he steers the former Soviet state on a clear westwards path.

The meeting comes just two days after parliament in Kiev ratified a historic pact with the EU and adopted legislation offering self-rule to the east in votes crucial to the future shape of the nation.
Poroshenko’s offer won Russia’s support, although the pro-Moscow rebels have been more dismissive, saying it will not stop their fight for full independence.


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