Ukrainian President: 'Record Number' of Russian Troops on Border

Record number Russian troops on border
A Russian flag flutters on top of a separatist self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic army armoured personnel carrier as it drives through the town of Vuhlehirsk, February 25, 2015. Baz Ratner/Reuters

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has said there are a "record number" of Russian troops on his country's border with Russia.

Speaking on Ukrainian television, Poroshenko said that the information came from NATO, U.S. and E.U. sources as well as Ukrainian intelligence.

Reports of an increasing Russian presence on the border have cropped up since NATO commander Philip Breedlove warned earlier this year of the risk of a return to heavy fighting in Eastern Ukraine. Kiev has repeatedly reported snap surges in violence by Russian-backed rebels in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions during this time.

Most recently Ukraine's defence forces complained of 540 violations of the ceasefire signed between Moscow, Kiev and the rebels in February, in the space of a week at the end of June.

As early as May, a Reuters reporter described seeing a mass build up of troops and heavy weapons on the Russian side of the Ukraine-Russian border including tanks, rocket launchers and artillery.

Speaking about the current situation, Poroshenko told Ukraine's channel 1+1: "We have information that a record number of Russian armed forces have been stationed the Ukrainian border."

"The evidence we have is not solely from our own intelligence sources, but we have confirmation from Nato and US lines as well as from EU states," the Ukrainian leader added.

Poroshenko recently visited some of the easternmost positions held by pro-Kiev forces in Donetsk region, including the port city Mariupol, the outskirts of which have sustained some of the most persistent attacks from pro-Russian separatists since February.

"We have information about possible key targets of attacks and we regularly perform staff exercises," Poroshenko said. "We will defend our country. Today we have a completely different army compared with a year ago."

The Ukrainian president did not give a precise number for how many Russian soldiers he believes are now on Ukraine's border, but last month defence minister Stepan Poltorak estimated that there were 55,000.

Ukrainian President: 'Record Number' of Russian Troops on Border | World