© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy visits armed forces positions in the Donbass region
KYIV (Reuters) – Ukraine’s Defense Minister on Saturday said his country could be provoked by Russia to exacerbate the situation in the conflict zone in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine.
Minister Andrii Taran said Russia’s allegations that the rights of Russian speakers were violated could be the reason for the resumption of armed invasions against Ukraine.
“At the same time, it should be noted that the Russian Federation’s increased armed forces against Ukraine can only happen if a proper political decision is taken at the highest level in the Kremlin,” he said in a statement. .
Kyiv has voiced alarms about the accumulation of Russian forces near the border between Ukraine and Russia, as well as about the increase in violence along the lines separating the Ukrainian army and Russian-backed separatists in Donbass.
The Russian military moves have raised concerns that Moscow is preparing to send forces into Ukraine. The Kremlin denies its military is a threat, but says it will stay as long as it sees fit.
Senior Kremlin official Dmitry Kozak said last week that Russia would be forced to protect its citizens in eastern Ukraine depending on the size of the military conflict there.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his French and German counterparts on Friday urged Russia to halt its military build-up and reaffirm their support for Kyiv in their confrontation with Moscow.
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