Russia says Ukraine has deployed half its army to Donbass conflict zone

Russia's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zakharova listens during the annual news conference in Moscow
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MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia accused Ukraine on Wednesday of deploying half of its army or 125,000 troops to Donbass, a conflict zone in eastern Ukraine, where government forces have been battling Russia-backed separatists since 2014.

The accusation was levelled by Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova during a briefing in Moscow. There was no immediate response from Kyiv.

Russia has said it is worried about Ukrainian intentions as tensions between Kyiv and Moscow spike over Western fears about a new Russian attack on Ukraine, something Russia has dismissed as fear-mongering.

Zakharova also commented on an offer by Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan for Ankara to serve as a mediator between Russia and Ukraine. She said that offer did not refer to the conflict in Donbass between Ukrainian government forces and Russia-backed separatists.

(Reporting by Maria Kiselyova; Writing by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Andrew Osborn)

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