Pentagon: More Russian troops on Ukraine border - Toledo News Now, Breaking News, Weather, Sports, Toledo

Pentagon: More Russian troops on Ukraine border

Posted: Updated:
By LOLITA C. BALDOR
Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) - Russian combat troops are again building up along the border with Ukraine, and U.S. officials believe Moscow may be sending heavy weapons into the country to aid the separatists, the Pentagon said Wednesday.

Army Col. Steve Warren told reporters the U.S. believes there are now up to 12,000 Russian troops on the border, reflecting a steady increase in recent weeks.

On June 30, Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove, the U.S. commander of NATO forces in Europe, said there were about seven battalion task groups and some small special operations forces along the border - which officials said amounted to about 8,000 troops. The growing number of troops, he said, is "not a helpful development in what it brings to the problem."

The number has fluctuated widely. U.S. officials in May estimated that there were as many as 40,000 Russian troops arrayed along the border but as weeks went by, the total plunged to about 1,000 under pressure from the West.

Warren says there are a variety of Russian forces there, including the combat battalion task groups.

Ukraine and the West have accused Russia of fomenting the insurgency by sending troops and weapons, including tanks and rocket launchers, something Moscow denies.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Crisis in UkraineMore>>

  • US: Russia is firing across border into Ukraine

    US: Russia is firing across border into Ukraine

    Friday, July 25 2014 4:09 PM EDT2014-07-25 20:09:20 GMT
    The Ukrainian army has reported rebel attacks overnight throughout the restive east, claiming that at one border crossing the rebels were supported by artillery fire from the Russian side.More >>
    Russia is launching artillery attacks from its soil on Ukrainian troops and preparing to move heavier weaponry across the border, the U.S. and Ukraine charged Friday in what appeared to be an ominous escalation of the crisis.More >>
  • What happened? The day Flight 17 was downed

    What happened? The day Flight 17 was downed

    Friday, July 25 2014 2:34 PM EDT2014-07-25 18:34:34 GMT
    It was lunchtime when a tracked launcher with four SA-11 surface-to-air missiles rolled into town and parked on Karapetyan Street. Fifteen hundred miles (2,400 kilometers) to the west, passengers were checking in...More >>
    It was lunchtime when a tracked launcher with four SA-11 surface-to-air missiles rolled into town and parked on Karapetyan Street. Fifteen hundred miles (2,400 kilometers) to the west, passengers were checking in for...More >>
  • Bigger Russian artillery moving into Ukraine soon

    Bigger Russian artillery moving into Ukraine soon

    Friday, July 25 2014 2:05 PM EDT2014-07-25 18:05:24 GMT
    The Pentagon says the movement of Russian heavy caliber artillery systems across the border into Ukraine is "imminent", escalating the military action there.More >>
    The movement of Russian heavy caliber artillery systems across the border into Ukraine is "imminent", the Pentagon said Friday, saying Russia is escalating the military action there.More >>