On Ukraine, yesterday we saw battle tanks, armored vehicles, and cargo trucks amass at a rail yard approximately 25 kilometers inside the Russian border. Today, as we see Ukrainian reports that Russia has moved heavy artillery, including T-64 tanks and Howitzer artillery systems into Ukraine – if confirmed, the United States condemns this most recent incursion into Ukrainian territory. It would be another blatant violation of the Minsk agreement signed by Russia and the separatists. We continue to emphasize the need for full and immediate implementation by the separatists and Russia of all their commitments under the September 5th Minsk Protocol. Russian forces and weapons must be withdrawn from Ukraine. Ukrainian sovereignty must be restored along the Ukrainian side of the international border, and that border needs to be monitored by the OSCE, and all hostages must be released immediately.
QUESTION: Yeah. I’m perplexed by your statement about Ukraine because you started out by talking about all the materiel that you had seen massing inside Russia near the border, and then you went on to note the Ukrainian reports that heavy armor, including tanks or heavy artillery and tanks have crossed into its territory. And you said if confirmed, you would condemn it. Can you not – why can’t you confirm it? If you can see them 20 kilometers away, why can’t you see them having crossed an international border?
MS. PSAKI: I think – because obviously we take a range of steps to confirm things internally before we confirm them publicly. I’m not going to outline that from here. But there have been a range of reports. I’m not suggesting we’re questioning them. I’m just suggesting that we don’t have independent confirmation.
QUESTION: Really? You don’t have independent confirmation?
MS. PSAKI: If we did, I would convey it to all of you.
QUESTION: On that line, I’m just curious. You said yesterday we saw battle tanks, et cetera, mass at the border. You saw, how?
MS. PSAKI: We have a range of means of evaluating and viewing what is happening, Matt. I’m not going to outline those further.
QUESTION: Okay. Well, I mean, could you – I mean, one of the problems or one of the issues that’s been going on in this battle – in the war of words that’s been going back and forth between the Russians and the United States and the Europeans to a certain extent has been that there hasn’t been evidence presented to back up these claims. So can you – if you can’t confirm the – if you can’t confirm that these tanks and the other things have actually gone into Ukraine, can you offer us any evidence to show that the – of the build-up on the Russian side of the border?
MS. PSAKI: Well, as you know, when we have information that is declassified we will provide that and can provide that. We have information that Russia has moved, as I mentioned during the topper, military forces, vehicles, armored personnel carriers, within several kilometers of the border. Obviously, to Arshad’s questions, we’re just waiting for – we’ll continue to look and analyze.
MS. PSAKI: If there’s more to share, we will provide that.
QUESTION: Right. But --
MS. PSAKI: And I don’t actually – I would disagree with the notion that that has been an issue when we have provided a range of information over the course of time when it’s available and when we can.
QUESTION: Right. But when you say something like, well, the Russians have massed up all these troops and tanks on the border, and you say, “We saw it happen,” and then you don’t have any – I mean, they come back and say, “Prove it.”
MS. PSAKI: We have information that leads us to believe that. I wouldn’t be stating it if there wasn’t confidence from the United States Government in our information.
QUESTION: Okay. But you’re not willing – or could you see if someone in the government is willing to provide some kind of this --
MS. PSAKI: If there is information to provide, we will provide it.
QUESTION: -- satellites or whatever kind of information it is that you have?
QUESTION: What conversations have there been between the U.S. and Russia about --
QUESTION: Sorry, could I just --
QUESTION: Could you endeavor to have --
MS. PSAKI: If there is information to provide, we’ll provide it, Matt.
Go ahead, Roz.
QUESTION: Have there been conversations between this building, for example, and the Russian foreign ministry about the continued troop presence along the Ukrainian-Russian border?
MS. PSAKI: Well, the Secretary has a bilateral meeting, I believe tomorrow, with Foreign Minister Lavrov. And certainly, they’ll discuss the situation in Ukraine. He’s been speaking with him fairly regularly.
QUESTION: Well, when was the last time that the two of them spoke directly about the tensions in that region?
MS. PSAKI: I can check, Roz. I mean, I believe it was in the last week or so. And obviously, we have a range of means of being in contact with Russians at several levels. So I don’t think it’s an issue of not conveying our concerns. There’s an opportunity to talk about Ukraine when the Secretary meets with the Foreign Minister tomorrow.
- Localisation : Russie
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