The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation reports the alleged plans of American private military companies to commit provocations with the use of chemicals in the Donbas. The United States denies all accusations, calling them far from reality.
Accusation of the RF Ministry of Defense
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu stated that the Americans had planned to use chemical weapons in the Donetsk region. According to him, tanks with unidentified chemical components had been delivered to the cities of Avdiivka and Chervonyi Lyman. The head of the Russian Ministry of Defense counted about 120 employees of American PMCs in Donbas, whose task is "to prepare Ukrainian special operations forces and radical armed groups for active hostilities."
He also noted that the United States and NATO have begun to pull in their forces to the Russian borders.
"The US and NATO are purposefully increasing the scale and intensity of the measures to prepare troops near Russia. Increasingly, strategic aviation carrying out simulated launches of nuclear missiles on our facilities is involved in them. The number of their flights near the Russian borders has more than doubled. NATO pays special attention to the matters of the troops transferring to the eastern flank of the Alliance, in particular from the continental part of the United States of America," he said.
US reaction to Russian reproaches
The Pentagon categorically denied Shoigu's accusation. John Kirby, the US Spokesperson for the US Ministry of Defense, called the assumption that American mercenaries are smuggling chemicals for provocations in eastern Ukraine "completely false", Politico reports.
The US State Department called on Russia not to resort to false and provocative rhetoric.
"Contrary to the statements of the Russian Defense Minister, it is Russia and the forces supporting it that are responsible for escalating tensions, and not Ukraine or the United States," the Department Spokesperson Ned Price stated.
Additionally. Politico emphasizes that the rhetoric emanating from Moscow is becoming more aggressive and, it seems, is intended to show Russia's helplessness in the face of NATO expansion.
Context. Putin demands guarantees from the North Atlantic Alliance that it will abandon further expansion to the east, in particular, will not support Ukraine's joining the Alliance.