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Russia accuses US of cultivating 'Russophobia', says Ukraine 'flooded' with weapons amid tensions

The file photo shows service members of the Ukrainian army walking at a combat position. (By Reuters)

Russia has accused the United States of "cultivating Russophobia" among like-minded countries, saying Ukraine has been "flooded" with weapons from Washington and NATO as well as "countless" advisers from the West, amid claims that Moscow is preparing to invade its neighboring country.

The Russian Permanent Mission to the United Nations made the remarks in a statement on its website on Wednesday, after the US and NATO said they were putting their forces on standby and reinforcing the deployment of weaponry in Eastern Europe in response to a Russian military build-up at Ukraine's border.

"Talking about the accumulation of Russian troops is almost the root cause of all problems. (The US) is cultivating Russophobia among its citizens and like-minded states. The US also forgets to clarify the talk is about Russian forces on Russian territory," the statement said.

"This is in contrast to the American and NATO weaponry and countless advisers that have flooded Ukraine and some other states close to the Russian borders. There is also no explanation for what the American navy, increasing tension in the Black Sea region, is doing near the Russian coast," it added.

Tensions are rising on the Russian-Ukrainian border, with the US, Ukraine, and several other Western countries accusing Russia of planning "an invasion" of Ukraine amid a military buildup near the Ukrainian border. Moscow rejects the allegations and insists that deployments are defensive in nature.

On Monday, the US announced it had put about American 8,500 troops on heightened alert for a possible deployment to Eastern Europe to counter the alleged threat of a Russian invasion. NATO countries also said they were sending additional ships and fighter jets to Eastern Europe and putting forces on standby.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov accused Washington of fueling tensions over Ukraine, stressing that Moscow was watching US actions with great concern.

However, on Tuesday, US President Joe Biden said there were no plans to send American troops to Ukraine, but said he would consider imposing direct economic sanctions on Russian President Vladimir Putin if he ordered an invasion of its neighboring country.

Washington has insisted on expanding NATO into the former Soviet states of Eastern Europe, including Ukraine, and the nations of the defunct Warsaw Pact, since the Cold War ended. Russia has vowed to counter any such Western attempts.

The Biden administration has reportedly allowed three fellow-NATO member states in the Baltic region to send US-made missiles and other armaments to Ukraine. The US State Department has approved shipments of US-made missiles and other weapons from NATO allies Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia to Ukraine.

The United States has committed more than $650 million in security assistance to Ukraine in the past year and more than $2.7 billion in total since 2014, when the then-Ukrainian territory of the Crimean Peninsula voted in a referendum to fall under Russian sovereignty.

Several NATO members such as Britain, Spain, Denmark, and the Netherlands have already sent consignments of weapons and warships to the region amid tensions with Russia over Ukraine.

The US and NATO's latest provocations against Russia come while American and Russian diplomats have failed to make a breakthrough in talks to resolve the crisis over Ukraine, although they agreed to continue the talks.

Russia has demanded legally binding guarantees from NATO that it will halt its eastward expansion and return to its 1997 borders. Moscow also demands that the military alliance never admit Ukraine as a member.

Russia is awaiting a written response from the Biden administration this week to its list of security demands, some of which Washington has previously dismissed as "non-starters."

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