Why is Russian Federation deploying troops to its border with Ukraine now?

'There will be consequences': US warns Russia against aggression in Ukraine

The US State Department said on Monday (local time) Secretary of State Antony Blinken and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg had discussed "the immediate need for Russian Federation to cease its aggressive military build-up".

The Kremlin has maintained that Russian Federation is free to deploy its troops wherever it wants on its territory and has repeatedly accused the Ukrainian military of "provocative actions" along the line of control and of planning to retake control of the rebel regions by force.

"If there is any aggravation, we of course will do everything to ensure our security and the safety of our citizens, wherever they are", Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies.

Ryabkov's remarks suggest that the diplomatic niceties which the former Cold War enemies have generally sought to observe in recent decades is fraying, and that Russian Federation would robustly push back against what it regards as unacceptable USA interference in its sphere of influence.

Amid the rising tensions, the United States has notified Turkey that two USA warships will sail to the Black Sea on April 14 and April 15 and stay there until May 4 and May 5. "It will be for their own good", Ryabkov said, calling the US deployment a provocation created to test Russian nerves.

The Ukrainian foreign minister sounded defiant toward Moscow, and said Ukraine and its Western partners were better prepared than seven years ago.

"The U.S. stands firmly behind the sovereignty and the territorial integrity of Ukraine", Blinken told Kuleba at the start of their meeting at the residence of the U.S. ambassador to Belgium, a post once held by Blinken's uncle. He called Russia's actions "very provocative".

Russian Federation has not denied the troop buildup along the border but officials said it was not planning on going to war with Ukraine.

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"Russia must end this military build-up in and around Ukraine, stop its provocations and de-escalate immediately", Stoltenberg said at a news conference with Kuleba.

Kramatorsk border units affiliated with Ukrainian Armed Forces' Joint Forces Border Units patrol seen on April 12. The numbers are likely to grow as the troops keep arriving.

Kuleba said Kyiv wanted a diplomatic solution.

Attention has focused on eastern Ukraine's Donetsk and Luhansk regions, which pro-Russian separatists seized at one point in April 2014.

According to him, Moscow will face consequences in the event of aggressive actions against Ukraine.

Another major topic of discussion will be the situation in Afghanistan just weeks before a May 1 deadline set an agreement between the administration of former U.S. President Donald Trump and the Taliban for the withdrawal of the remaining 2,500 U.S. forces from the country.

One element of the tensions between Moscow and Kyiv is the possibility that Ukraine could join North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, taking the country further out of Russia's orbit.

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