Interfax: There is no, has never been Russian military presence in southeastern Ukraine – Russian Foreign Ministry

Russian Foreign Ministry Building Tower file photo

MOSCOW. Nov 13 (Interfax) – The Russian Foreign Ministry has denied the information on Russian military presence in southeastern Ukraine and movements of Russian troops over the Russian-Ukrainian border.

“I am telling you totally frankly and officially that there are no military movements across the [Russian-Ukrainian] border, let alone a Russian military presence in southeastern Ukraine,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich told a briefing in Moscow on Thursday, responding to a question as to whether Russian troops have really crossed the border, including a truck labeled “Cargo 200” (transportation of dead bodies).

In their report of November 12, OSCE observers spoke about “a high number of persons in military-style clothing” who reportedly crossed the Russian-Ukrainian border at the Gukovo and Donetsk checkpoints since the beginning of the observation mission. “During the reporting period, the Observation Teams saw 665 men and women in military-style dress crossing the border in both directions,” the OSCE mission said in its report.

According to the OSCE observers, these people now frequently appear at the checkpoints in groups of up to 24 people.

“We are now working with the mission on what they said in their report,” Lukashevich said.

Lukashevich said NATO is using the accusations against Russia stating that it is sending its military to Ukraine over the border, trying to “substantiate its actions, which the alliance largely interprets through the prism of the Ukrainian crisis. This includes large-scale trainings and the increase of the NATO military capabilities near the Russian borders.”

“The military always need some pretext. In this sense, they decided not to go very far and are just making unsubstantiated, false allegations on this matter,” Lukashevich said.