Pentagon spokesman John Kirby denied the words of Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu that American private military companies (PMCs) were preparing a provocation with chemical components in eastern Ukraine.
“These statements by Minister Shoigu are completely false,” Kirby told reporters at a briefing on Tuesday December 21st. The transcript was published on the US Department of Defense website.
In addition, he stressed that the head of the Pentagon Lloyd Austin did not negotiate with Shoigu on the situation in Ukraine, and there are no corresponding plans in his schedule.
US State Department spokesman Ned Price, in turn, called on the Russian Defense Ministry to stop spreading “false information about the situation around Kiev.”
“We urge Russia to stop using false, inflammatory rhetoric and take meaningful steps to de-escalate tensions to provide a positive atmosphere for discussion,” he wrote on Twitter.
Sergei Shoigu’s statement was made earlier that day at a meeting of the board of the Russian Defense Ministry. The minister said that currently there are more than 120 employees of American PMCs on the territory of the Donetsk region, and they are preparing the special forces of Ukraine for active hostilities. At the same time, they equip firing positions in residential buildings and at socially significant facilities.
In particular, they talked about the work of the Americans in Avdiivka and Priazovsky, where, according to Shoigu, tanks with unidentified chemical components were delivered.
On December 11, the DPR accused Ukraine of placing tanks in the cities of Donbass. According to a representative of the people’s militia, Vasilek mortars and T-80 tanks were seen among the deployed equipment and weapons.
It is also reported that the Valkyrie drone of the 54th brigade of the Ukrainian Armed Forces was intercepted at the contact line. The drone was found and landed near the Oktyabrskaya mine settlement.