Pentagon has dismissed as incorrect Moscow’s claim – laid out by Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu- that American private military companies (PMCs) are planning to stage a provocation in eastern Ukraine using chemical weapons.
The US Department of Defense press secretary, John Kirby, has completely denied on Tuesday all suggestions of any American plans to stage an incident, calling Shoigu’s statements completely false.
Shoygu has stepped up the heated war of words over Ukraine earlier on Tuesday, claiming at a meeting of the Russian Defense Ministry board that 120 employees of American PMCs have been placed in Ukraine’s Donetsk region and are preparing a provocation using unknown chemical components.
He claimed that US mercenaries are training Ukrainian special operations forces and radical armed groups for active combat operations, setting up firing positions in residential buildings and important facilities, and delivering tanks with unspecified chemical components to the towns of Avdeevka and Krasnyi Lyman to carry out provocations.
However, Shoygu, who is considered a trusted ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, provided no further details or evidence to back up his claims but has continued his accusation speech blaming and blasting the US for the increased tensions near Russia’s border by building up its military presence.
Russian Defense Minister’s unsubstantiated claims came in light of the repeated warnings issued by top officials from the US and its allies in NATO about Russian troops massing on the border with Ukraine and the risk of Moscow using invented provocations as a pretext for a new invasion or military strike.
Putin, who also attended the same meeting of the Russian Defense Ministry board, also blamed on Tuesday the US of the tensions in Europe, stressing that the deployment of American missiles, as well as large-scale exercises near Russia’s borders, are causing concern for Moscow.