Blinken meets with French FM Le Drian on Russian military activity in Ukraine

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Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian about “Russian military activities taking place” in and around Ukraine, “an American official said on Sunday evening.

The two senior diplomats referred to “reports of Russian military activities in and around Ukraine and their unwavering commitment to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine,” said the spokesperson for the Department of Ukraine. Ned Price state in a press release.

Blinkenand Le Drian spoke on Saturday and also discussed “joint efforts to combat Iran’s nuclear program,” Price said.

Western allies have expressed growing concern over recent Russian troop movements near the country’s border with Ukraine.

The Ukrainian military is locked in a latent conflict with Kremlin-backed separatists in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions that erupted after Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula in 2014.

Kiev said two Ukrainian soldiers were killed by an explosive device in the separatist east of the country on Friday, while recent videos on social media show Russia moving troops, tanks and missiles towards the Ukrainian border.

After an upsurge in violence earlier this year, Russia amassed around 100,000 troops on the Ukraine’s borders in the spring, raising fears of a major escalation of the conflict.

Russia later announced a withdrawal, but Ukraine and its ally the United States said at the time that the withdrawal was limited.

The conflict has claimed more than 13,000 lives.

Ukraine and its Western allies accuse Russia of sending troops and weapons across the border. Moscow has denied these allegations.

(AFP)

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