The Russian Defense Ministry has decided not to pull back troops from the border with Ukraine. The army group in Rostov and Belgorod regions has been strengthened again.
At the same time, despite the unilateral cessation of hostilities in the east of the country, announced by President Peter Poroshenko, the quantity of Ukrainian military equipment in the areas of clashes with militias will be increased.
"The situation is tense: Russian embassies in Ukrainian cities are attacked, President Poroshenko does not keep his promises on ceasefire provocations, the Ukrainian military arrange provocations on the border - all this forced us to reconsider the decision to pull back military units to places of their permanent deployment," a source at the General Staff of the Russian Federation told RBC.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu acknowledged the moves to strengthen the army group near the Ukrainian border. At a closed meeting of the State Duma, Shoigu said that Russia would hold military drills in the area due to the activation of NATO forces in the region. According to a deputy, who attended the closed meeting of the Duma, Shoigu said that it was technically possible to establish a no-fly zone in the south-east of Ukraine. However, the defense minister of Russia added: "politically, you know, it is not possible."
The chairman of the Duma Defense Committee, Vladimir Komoyedov, also expressed doubts that the regular Russian army could enter the territory of Ukraine, RBC reports.
Meanwhile, Russian defense officials currently consider a plan to build sanitary cordons in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, said RBC with reference to Anatoly Dergilev, an official at the central apparatus of the Ministry of Defense, a colonel in reserve. According to him, "the point of the plan is not about direct armed confrontation with the Ukrainian army, but in the provision of security to civilians by setting an ultimatum of non-use of weapons to the opposing party." Top officials of the Russian Defense Ministry said that they were ready to provide such corridors in the Donbass within 24 hours after an adequate order, Col. Dergilev said.
Ukrainian President Poroshenko has not fulfilled his promise to cease fire and build humanitarian corridors for civilians. The Ukrainian army continues to bomb settlements in Donetsk and Lugansk regions, killing civilians every day.
Russian officials have repeatedly declared that Israeli aviation poses a threat to the Russian military in Syria.