The U.S. Department of State (DoS) has released a statement on its official blog, compelling Russia to engage in a peaceful resolution of the crisis in Ukraine and refrain from further assistance of agression. In the post, the State Department sees no evidence that Russia has waned in actively supporting the separatist factions, and compels the country to “stop destabilizing Ukraine and occupying Crimea, a part of Ukraine’s territory.”
[quote]We assess that Russia continues to provide them with heavy weapons, other military equipment and financing, and continues to allow militants to enter Ukraine freely. Russia denies this, just as it denied its forces were involved in Crimea — until after the fact.[/quote]
The statement goes further, expounding on and updating the situation in Rostov where previous reports by the Department and NATO exposed a buildup of main battle tanks and other heavy equipment being delivered to Russian militants in Ukraine.
The DoS says it is ‘confident’ that the Russian government is mobilizing even more tanks from old stock to the Rostov deployment site, and that tanks, artillery, and multiple rocket launchers have already been delivered – several of which were transferred this past weekend alone.
It also says that the number of vehicles at the site is ever increasing (roughly doubling) and that more advanced air defense systems are beginning to arrive. This of course would mark a departure from the previously listed Soviet-era stock. Separatist recruitment efforts have also stepped up, and are now seeking out volunteer operators to man these very air defense systems.
Recruitment of militants to fight in Ukraine is ongoing opposite its border, with the DoS explicitly stating that “Russia has allowed officials from the “Donetsk People’s Republic” to establish a recruiting office in Moscow,” while pointing out that many separatist leaders “hail from Russia and have ties to the Russian government.”
[quote]This all paints a telling picture of Russia’s continued policy of destabilization in eastern Ukraine.[/quote]