Moscow possesses information that at least 300 United States Army paratroopers would be relocated to a range in the Lvov region of Ukraine from Italy within the next few days, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said.
"According to information we possess, up to 300 servicemen from the 173rd Airborne Brigade of the U.S. armed forces based in Italy should be relocated to the Yavoriv range in the Lvov region these days," Lukashevich said.
"These servicemen will train Ukrainian soldiers to operate military hardware from across the ocean. Thus, U.S. military are already in Ukraine," he said.
Russian Foreign Ministry is concerned about reports on Washington's intention to supply weapons to Ukraine, Lukashevich said.
"Amid quite successful implementation of the ceasefire agreements in Donbas, which was achieved in Minsk on February 12 this year with assistance from the Normandy format leaders, the reports regarding the intentions of the United States to start massive supplies of weapons to Ukraine, which keep on coming, cause our most serious concerns," Lukashevich said at a news briefing in Moscow.
"The U.S. Congress is even drawing up special legislation envisioning the allocation of $1 billion to equip and train Ukrainian troops, as if Washington planned to fully take on their funding," he said.
Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov has also criticized U.S. officials who continue to claim that thousands of Russian troops are active in Ukraine.
"In this case, what should we do with the statement made by Ukrainian Armed Forces General Staff Chief Gen. [Viktor] Muzhenko, who said that there are no Russian armed forces on the territory of Ukraine?" Antonov told a press briefing on Thursday, when commenting on remarks made by U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland, who alleged the deployment of "thousands and thousands" of Russian troops in eastern Ukraine.
"And why did they say 12,000? Why not 20,000 or 25,000? They think that, in any case, no one is able to say anything in response," Antonov said.
"So, who can be trusted in this situation - the person [Muzhenko] who is responsible for his country's national and military security or Mrs. Nuland, who lives in Washington?" Antonov added.
Nuland said on March 4 she has information that thousands of Russian troops are present in Ukrainian territory.
However, Ukrainian General Staff Chief Muzhenko said at a meeting with foreign military attaches in Kiev on January 29 that the Ukrainian army was not fighting against regular Russian troops in Donbass.
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