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Russian diplomat says evidence points to Kiev beefing up military might in Donbass

The Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman also drew attention to the announcement of the start of drills in the Zaporozhye, Kherson and Chernigov regions, and also the training of reservists

MOSCOW, December 5. /TASS/. The Kiev regime is building up its military presence in the Donbass region, indicated by the information surfacing, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Wednesday.

“For the sake of holding on to power, the current rulers in Kiev, the Kiev regime is ready to do anything, even going as far as unleashing a new blitzkrieg in the South-East. Unfortunately, information has started to surface more and more on the likelihood of the use of force by the Ukrainian military in Donbass. The Kiev regime is using an information noise screen to try to shift the world’s attention towards its own provocation in the Kerch Strait, which the regime is painting as some “Russian aggression” in order to deploy substantial offensive hardware to the region,” the Russian diplomat said.

"Some days ago, social networks posted photos of armored units deployed to Mariupol. Besides, efforts are underway to deploy Ukrainian military personnel to the conflict zone from assault and paramilitary brigades, which underwent intensive training in November with the active involvement of US, Canadian and British instructors at practice ranges in the Zhitomir and Lvov regions. Specialists from private military companies were spotted along the engagement line and they conducted training for the personnel of the Ukrainian special forces with the aim of carrying out offensive operations," the diplomat pointed out.

The Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman also drew the journalists’ attention to the announcement of the start of military drills in the Zaporozhye, Kherson and Chernigov regions, and also the training of reservists.

On November 27, Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, endorsed President Pyotr Poroshenko’s decree on imposing a 30-day martial law from November 28 in the Vinnitsa, Lugansk, Nikolayevsk, Odessa, Sumy, Kharkov, Chernigov, Donetsk, Zaporozhye and Kherson regions, as well as Ukraine’s territorial waters in the Sea of Azov. Initially, Poroshenko sought to impose martial law for 60 days, but this put into question holding the March presidential election and sparked a public outcry.

The pretext for the decision to declare martial law was an incident in the Kerch Strait on November 25, when three Ukrainian warships, en route from Odessa to Mariupol, illegally crossed Russia’s state border, entered Russia’s territorial waters and started performing dangerous maneuvers.

Despite the repeated warnings and demands to stop, the Ukrainian vessels continued their way, forcing Russia to use weapons. All three Ukrainian ships were detained in the Black Sea. Three Ukrainian servicemen were wounded and received medical assistance. Their lives are currently not under threat. A criminal case has been launched over the violation of Russia’s state border. Moscow slammed the incident as a provocation.