U.S. Officials Estimate 40,000 Russian Troops on Ukraine's Border
United States officials have reported that there are currently up to 40,000 Russian troops on Ukraine’s east border and that Russia could still invade Ukraine.
Though there is no consensus on the exact number of troops on the border, on March 27th, Rep. Michael Turner (R-OH) said there were 80,000 troops on the border, and other sources told FOX News that more than 50,000 troops arrived in the last few days.
While America’s estimates are between 40,000 and 100,000, the European countries who fear that Russia could attack them are more cautious and will not put the number above 30,000.
An anonymous source told FOX News that the U.S. government believes Russia could invade Ukraine. However, on March 21st, another anonymous source told CNN’s Jake Tapper that the government believed Russia would invade Ukraine that weekend, which did not occur.
Russian President Vladimir Putin called President Obama on Friday to discuss the situation with Ukraine. Obama once again told Putin to pull back the troops from Ukraine’s border and negotiate with Ukraine. But Moscow has repeatedly said they do not recognize the new government in Kiev and will not speak to them until a real leader emerges. Ukraine ousted Russian-backed President Viktor Yanukovych on February 22nd.
On Sunday, NATO issued Russia a warning over the amount of troops stationed on Ukraine's border. Putin said Moscow was in full compliance with international laws and that all military exercises were to familiarize the soldiers with unfamiliar lands. NATO fears Russia could invade Moldova and seize Transdniester, a split-away country that voiced its desire to join Russia. NATO countries Estonia and Latvia also think they could be Putin’s target after Moscow diplomats voiced concerns over Russian speakers in both countries. That was the same argument Moscow used to justify its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.