- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 4, 2015

U.S. Army Europe Commander Ben Hodges said Tuesday there are roughly 12,000 Russian soldiers in eastern Ukraine in support of pro-Moscow separatists.

While speaking to an audience in Berlin, the officer added that 29,000 Russian soldiers were stationed in the Crimea peninsula annexed in 2014 and another 50,000 were deployed on the other side of the border as an insurance policy against Ukrainian gains, Reuters reported.

The U.S. military’s charges come just weeks after the U.K. Joint Delegation to NATO said Russian SA-22 surface-to-air missile systems were operating in Ukraine.

“More proof of direct Russian military involvement in the conflict,” the U.K. Joint Delegation to NATO posted on its Twitter account Feb. 18.

Russia has repeatedly denied that it has provided resources to separatists in eastern Ukraine.

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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