MOSCOW (Dispatches) -Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Reintegration of Uncontrolled Territories Alexei Reznikov urged at a meeting with U.S. Jamestown Foundation Head Glen Howard earlier during his working visit to the United States “to expand the security package for Ukraine” primarily by deploying U.S. air defense systems and forces.
“It is important to expand the security package for Ukraine,” Reznikov said. “First of all, with the stationing of air defense forces, and even by deploying American units.”
He argued that under Ukraine’s legislation, foreign troops were allowed to be stationed in the country.
Russia, which has long warned the U.S. and its NATO allies against sending military forces close to its borders, described Reznikov’s request as a “crude provocation.”
The Russian state foreign affairs committee chairman, Leonid Slutsky, said in a message on Tuesday that the deployment of U.S. military forces near the Russian border “will undoubtedly evoke Moscow’s response” and that “tensions will merely soar.”
“It is regrettable that Ukraine’s laws allow for stripping it of what is still left of its sovereignty, and its citizens, of a chance to live in security,” Slutsky said. He said Kiev would “sacrifice” the nation’s sovereignty “to prolong their participation in the anti-Russia project.”
Relations between Moscow and Kiev have been strained since conflict erupted in Ukraine’s eastern Donbass region between Ukrainian government forces and ethnic Russians in 2014. The U.S., the European Union, and Ukraine claim that Russia has a hand in the conflict. Moscow strongly rejects the allegation.