Russia has once again debunked allegations by the United States and its allies that Moscow could be preparing to invade neighboring Ukraine.
“I need to reassure everyone. Nothing like this is going to happen,” Sergei Naryshkin, head of Russia’s foreign intelligence agency, said in an interview broadcast on state television on Saturday.
“Everything that is happening around this topic right now is of course malicious propaganda by the US State Department,” he added.
Officials from the US and the Western military alliance of NATO have claimed that Russia could be contemplating such incursion, citing, what they call, "unusual" Russian troop movements near the border with Ukraine.
On Friday, Karen Donfried, the State Department’s top diplomat for European affairs, said all options were on the table in how to respond to the alleged buildup.
Russia has repeatedly said it was free to move its troops around within its own borders.
Washington and its allies have been harping on about, what they claim is, Moscow's ill-intentioned plans for Ukraine since 2014, when a wave of protests overthrew Ukraine's democratically-elected pro-Moscow government and replaced it with a Western-leaning administration.
A crisis followed after the majority of people in Ukraine's Donetsk and Lugansk regions refused to accept the new changes, and took up arms against Ukrainian troops.
Kiev and the Western countries accuse Moscow of having a hand in the crisis. Moscow denies the allegations.