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Kyiv Says Russia Has At Least 5,000 Troops In Eastern Ukraine

Ukraine's Deputy Defense Minister Ihor Dolhov
Ukraine's Deputy Defense Minister Ihor Dolhov

Ukraine’s Defense Ministry has said Russia has between 5,000 and 7,500 regular military troops inside Ukrainian territory, not counting the annexed Ukrainian region of Crimea.

Deputy Defense Minister Ihor Dolhov told journalists in Kyiv on November 29 that Russia has 23,000 troops in Crimea, including about 9,000 along the administrative line between Crimea and mainland Ukraine.

In addition, he said, Russia has some 55,000 troops stationed very near its border with Ukraine.

Moscow did not immediately react to the announcement, but it has in the past repeatedly denied having a military presence in Ukraine, other than Crimea, which Russia forcibly annexed in 2014.

Kyiv and Western governments assert that Moscow is providing military, economic, and political support to separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Earlier this month, the International Criminal Court ruled that the conflict in eastern Ukraine is an "international armed conflict" between Russia and Ukraine.

The conflict there has left some 9,600 people dead since it broke out in early 2014, according to the UN.

Based on reporting by RIA Novosti and Interfax

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