Ukraine’s military says it has 2,800 tanks, 122,000 Russian soldiers

(CNN) — A report by the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense says that 122,000 Russian soldiers and 2,800 tanks are “constantly present” on the border with Ukraine.

The report, which said Russian armed forces had left Ukraine, said that Russian forces had increased their frequent border-crossing in March and April, “inhabiting Ukrainian territory, intimidating Ukrainian military and border guards and creating a sense of threat for the Ukrainian armed forces.”

An unidentified officer with the Ukrainian army posted the report on Facebook and the claims could not be independently verified.

Ukraine has been in what it says is an undeclared war with Russia since 2014. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said in March the war had cost thousands of lives and drawn about 13 million in a conflict, creating a humanitarian catastrophe.

Rebels deny Russian military presence

The United States and NATO have condemned Russian military support to rebels in the east of Ukraine, which has caused tens of thousands of casualties.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly denied that Russian forces are engaged in the conflict.

In the document published online, the Ukrainian military said that when it is dealt with by armed personnel carriers or mechanized infantry vehicles — known as zakon or brigades — the enemy fighter is either the “enemy patrols or enemy ammunition carrier. Within artillery rounds is a small number of enemy units.”

“The enemy bears no hostility to our territory nor to the citizens,” the document said.

NATO says as many as 1,000 pro-Russian rebels are operating in eastern Ukraine, either in formations of 500 or 600 or in smaller detachments.

That support is provided by a combination of Russian ground troops and airborne units, as well as special forces and transport units, according to Nato.

Russia, meanwhile, maintains a network of about 2,000 military bases around Ukraine’s territory.

It says its troops are near Russia’s border with Ukraine, and has accused the pro-Western government in Kiev of fomenting unrest to enable military operations.

Putin says the conflict is solely the work of Kiev.

Russian Air Force aims to neutralize Ukraine’s missile defense system

The assertion in the Ukrainian report came as Russia’s government told its Air Force to “destroy” Ukraine’s new missile defense system as part of a broader push to neutralize any potential confrontation with NATO.

Air Force spokesman Colonel Artem Zhoukov said its alert status had been lifted as military experts can now focus on the new system’s potential threat to Russia, not just the current ones it already has.

NATO’s updated satellite tracking system is intended to warn of Russia’s quick launch or insertion of missiles and submarines, the alliance’s officials said.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in a statement to CNN on Friday that NATO “remains united in its resolve, and we are providing Ukraine with the right to develop its own missile defense system based on its sovereign territory.”

“NATO does not seek confrontation with Russia, but our resolve to defend our allies and protect our borders and our principles cannot be deterred,” he said.

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