Kremlin Accuses U.S. of 'Absolute Lies' of Russian Troop Buildup at Ukraine Border

The Kremlin rejected U.S. claims of a Russian troop buildup at the Ukrainian border, claiming the "absolute lies" from the U.S. is only a ruse on Monday.

The U.S. media allegations claimed Moscow had purported plans to invade Ukraine, but Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissed the allegations, saying they could be a ruse to cover up aggressive intentions from Ukrainian leadership, and that the troop movements on Russia's territory should not concern anyone.

The Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) released a statement criticizing the U.S. State Department for spreading "absolute lies" about the purported Russian buildup near the Ukraine border.

"The Americans are painting a horrible picture of Russian tank armadas crushing Ukrainian cities. It's surprising to see a speed at which a formerly respectable foreign policy agency is turning into a mouthpiece of mendacious propaganda," the SVR said in Monday's statement.

Ukraine has complained against Russia's tens of thousands of troops not far from the countries' borders earlier this month. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken also spoke with Ukraine's foreign minister this month, noting that Russia's repeated "playbook" was to build up forces near their borders and then invade, "claiming falsely that it was provoked."

Tensions continue to rise between the countries as the border crisis continues, troops are gathered along the borders and recent conflicts between Ukraine and Russia about the Crimean Peninsula have erupted.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov
The Kremlin rejected U.S. claims of a Russian troop buildup at the Ukrainian border, claiming the “absolute lies” from the U.S. is only a ruse on Monday. Above, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov attends a joint news conference with his Lebanese counterpart Abdallah Bou Habib in Moscow, on November 22. Evgenia Novozhenina/ Pool Photo/Associated Press

Peskov sought to turn the tables on Ukraine and the West, arguing that the expressions of concern by the U.S. and its allies may "camouflage aggressive intentions in Kyiv to try to solve the problem of the southeast by force."

He accused the Ukrainian military of increasingly frequent shootings across the tense line of contact in the east and added that Moscow is strongly worried about the U.S. and other NATO countries providing Ukraine with weapons.

"The number of provocations has been growing, and those provocations have been conducted using the weapons that NATO countries sent to Ukraine," Peskov said in a conference call with reporters. "We are watching it with a grave concern."

Russia has cast its weight behind the separatist insurgency in Ukraine's eastern industrial heartland known as Donbas that has left more than 14,000 people dead. But Moscow has repeatedly denied any presence of its troops in eastern Ukraine.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Monday also criticized what he described as "bellicose rhetoric" by Ukrainian military officials, charging that it could "reflect a desire to conduct provocations and turn the conflict into a hot phase."

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba rejected the Russian allegations of Ukraine's plans to launch an attack on Donbas as part of Moscow's "disinformation."

"Let me state it officially: Ukraine does not plan a military offensive in the Donbas," Kuleba said on Twitter. "We are devoted to seeking political & diplomatic solutions to the conflict."

The SVR alleged that it was Ukraine that was beefing up its forces near Russia and Belarus.

The Russian spy agency also accused the U.S. and the European Union of encouraging "the sense of permissiveness and impunity" in Ukraine, comparing the situation to Western expressions of support to Georgia before the 2008 war between Russia and Georgia.

Russia routed the Georgian army in the brief conflict that erupted when Georgia attempted to reclaim control over a Russia-backed separatist province. Moscow then recognized the independence of Georgia's two separatist provinces after the war.