Steven Sahiounie, Journalist and political commentator
US Europe Command has raised its posture to the highest level, "potential imminent threat", as USAF surveillance flights have tracked Russia's border over the past 48 hours.
The current flare of tensions sparked on March 26, when four Ukrainian military servicemen were killed by a landmine while inspecting minefields near the village of Shumy. Kiev and their partners the US and NATO used the deaths to blame the forces of the Donetsk People's Republic, who denied any attacks.
Dmitry Peskov, the Russian presidential spokesman, said the Kremlin was worried the Ukrainian side might create the risk for a civil war if they initiated provocation in southeastern Ukraine. Peskov added that Russia would take "additional measures" if NATO were to use provocation.
The US forces are now on high alert in Europe and blaming "Russian aggression" in the area. An official from NATO said to Reuters that Russia was undermining efforts to reduce tensions in eastern Ukraine.
Rebels seized parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk region in April 2014, and the Kremlin says Russian "volunteers" have been assisting the rebels.
Maria Zakharova, the Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman, said during Friday's briefing, "I would like to warn the Kiev regime and the hotheads that are serving it or manipulating it against further de-escalation and attempts to implement a forceful scenario in Donbass."
Zakharova said that Ukrainian officials regularly accuse Russia, while not adhering to, and implementing the agreements reached previously on settlement in eastern Ukraine.
"At the same time, Kiev is trying to convince everyone that Moscow is allegedly a conflict side and that it allegedly has some obligations within the Minsk Package of Measures," Zakharova added.
The Minsk Agreements outline the conflict sides in Donbass as Kiev, Donetsk, and Lugansk. However, Kiev attempts to place blame on Moscow.
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