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Russia Accuses West Of 'Hysteria' Over Ukraine Conflict.

A Kremlin spokesman has accused the West of "artificially" raising tensions with statements suggesting that Moscow might attack neighboring Ukraine.

Speaking on Russian state television on November 21, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Moscow could not rule out "a provocation" in the region.

In an interview published the same day by the Military Times, Ukrainian military intelligence chief Kyrylo Budanov claimed Russia had amassed more than 92,000 troops around Ukraine's borders and that Moscow was preparing an attack by early February.

Budanov said Russia has increased troop levels and equipment in the Ukrainian region of Crimea, which Moscow annexed in 2014, and has moved short-range ballistic missile systems and other weaponry to the area near the two countries' border.

On November 20, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Washington and Europe are concerned about the Russian military moves.

"This hysteria is being artificially whipped up," Peskov said. "We are being accused of some kind of unusual military activity on our territory by those who have brought in their armed forces from across the country. That is, the United States of America."

He accused NATO of concentrating a "military fist" near Russia's borders and urged the alliance to stop providing modern weapons to Ukraine.

A ship carrying two refitted former U.S. Coast Guard patrol boats entered the Black Sea bound for Ukraine on November 20. Earlier this year, Ukraine received a shipment of U.S. ammunition and Javelin anti-tank missiles from Washington.

The New York Times wrote last week that U.S. and European intelligence analysts believe Russian President Vladimir Putin might be considering a military operation against Ukraine with the goal of either seizing Ukrainian territory or destabilizing the country and bringing a pro-Russian government to power in Kyiv.

The Kremlin denies the accusations.

Kyiv has been fighting a war against Russia-backed separatists in parts of eastern Ukraine since 2014 in which some 14,000 people have been killed.

Russia denies any involvement in the conflict despite compelling evidence it has provided military, economic, and political assistance to the separatist formations.

With reporting by the Military Times, The New York Times, and Reuters

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