* NATO says Russia has big force at Ukraine's border
* Deputy defence minister says Russia "has nothing to hide"
(Adds quotes, background)
MOSCOW, March 23 Russia's defence ministry said
on Sunday that it was complying with international troop limits
near its border with Ukraine, after NATO's top military
commander voiced concern over what he said was a large Russian
force on Ukraine's eastern border.
"The Russian Defence Ministry is in compliance with all
international agreements limiting the number of troops in the
border areas with Ukraine," Russian Deputy Defence Minister
Anatoly Antonov was quoted by Russian news agencies as saying.
NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Europe, U.S. Air Force
General Philip Breedlove, earlier on Sunday called the Russian
force near its Ukrainian border "very, very sizeable and very,
very ready". He said he was worried it could pose a threat to
Moldova's mainly Russian-speaking separatist Transdniestria
As Russian forces consolidated control over Crimea two days
after President Vladimir Putin signed laws completing Russia's
annexation of the Black Sea peninsula, some have voiced fears
Putin may try to grab more territory in the east of the country.
Antonov said eight groups of international inspectors had
conducted missions in Russia in the last month to check on
Russian troop movements.
"We cooperated to our utmost with our partners, allowing
them to inspect all sites in which they were interested. We have
nothing to hide there," Antonov was quoted by the state RIA and
Itar-Tass news agencies as saying.
"The conclusion that our foreign partners made ... (was
that) Russian armed forces are not undertaking any undeclared
military activities that could cause a threat to the security of
neighbouring states," he said.
(Reporting by Alissa de Carbonnel; Editing by Rosalind Russell)