Ukraine said Sunday it is seeking urgent talks with Russia and the several dozen members of Europe’s top security body to discuss the buildup of some 130,000 Russian troops near Kyiv’s borders.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said the meeting follows Russia’s failure to respond to Kyiv’s request late last week for detailed explanations on its military activities near Ukraine.
“We request a meeting with Russia and all participating states [of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe] within 48 hours,” Kuleba tweeted.
The 57-member OSCE meeting will seek to discuss Russia’s “reinforcement and redeployment along our border and in temporarily occupied Crimea,” the Ukrainian diplomat said.
Kuleba urged the Kremlin to fulfill its commitment toward military transparency under the OSCE’s confidence-building measures “if Russia is serious when it talks about the indivisibility of security in the OSCE space.”
Journalists said Russia did in fact respond to Ukraine's request, but did so after the 48-hour timeframe had ended.
On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman did not comment on Kyiv's request but reiterated Russia's stance that Moscow was free to move troops across the country's territory.
"I would like to emphasize once again that we are talking about the movement of Russian troops on Russian territory," spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters, once again accusing Ukraine of ramping up tensions.
"Large-scale movements of Ukraine's armed forces are also carried out in the border zone on Ukrainian territory, moreover, in the area that borders on the territory of the self-proclaimed republics, which leads to escalation of the situation."
A flurry of international diplomatic activity took place over the weekend as U.S. officials stepped up their warnings that Russia could mount a military campaign in Ukraine as soon as Wednesday.
Russia denies plans to invade Ukraine, maintains that its troop movements within its borders are non-threatening and accuses the West of “provocative speculation” and “peak hysteria.”
Moscow meanwhile demands sweeping security guarantees from the United States and NATO in eastern Europe, including banning Ukraine from ever becoming a NATO member.
Dozens of countries have urged their citizens to leave Ukraine and began cutting back diplomatic staff, while at least one airline announced it was suspending flights to Ukraine.
AFP contributed reporting.