WASHINGTON: G7 member countries have said they were deeply concerned about the build-up of Russian troops on the border with Ukraine and the annexed Crimea region.
Recent reports of Russian military activity in and around Ukraine, as well as ceasefire violations, have sparked international concern that the seven-year conflict between the two nations could escalate again, reports DPA news agency.
The latest ceasefire was announced on July 27, 2020.
“These large-scale troop movements, without prior notification, represent threatening and destabilising activities,” the Foreign Ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the US and the UK said in a joint statement on Monday.
“We call on Russia to cease its provocations and to immediately de-escalate tensions in line with its international obligations.”
The Ministers reaffirmed their “unwavering support for the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders” in the statement. Russia was booted out of what was at the time the G8 after its annexation of the Crimean peninsula after a controversial referendum in 2014.
The international community still considers Crimea to be part of Ukrainian territory. The ongoing conflict in Donbas, which comprises the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk and began in April 2014, has claimed some 14,000 lives and left as many as 40,000 wounded. This year, the conflict has claimed the lives of 26 Ukrainian servicemen and injured 57 others so far.
Insurgents have controlled parts of Donbas along the Russian border for almost seven years.