Russia denies massing troops on Ukrainian border

MOSCOW (AFP) - Russia's deputy defence minister Anatoly Antonov denied on Sunday it was massing troops on the Ukrainian border, saying it was observing international agreements.

"The Russian defence ministry is observing all the international agreements on limiting the numbers of troops in regions bordering Ukraine," Mr Antonov told journalists, cited by the Interfax news agency.

"Russia's armed forces are not carrying out any unannounced military activity that could threaten the security of neighbouring states," Mr Antonov added.

Ukraine's National Security and Defence Council chief Andriy Parubiy warned on Sunday that Russian President Vladimir Putin was ready to attack Ukraine with "troops massed at the border."

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu has discussed Russian troop activities on the Ukraine border with US and Ukrainian counterparts Chuck Hagel and Igor Tenyukh, Mr Antonov said.

"Sergei Shoigu absolutely clearly and unambiguously informed all those he talked to about the real position on the Russian-Ukrainian border and the lack of any intentions to concentrate forces there."

"Shoigu called on the US defence secretary to objectively assess the state of military readiness of the Russian armed forces in the regions bordering Ukraine and not to blow up the situation," Mr Antonov said.

He said seven groups of international inspectors visited regions adjoining the Ukrainian border over the last month, adding: "We have nothing to hide there."