MOSCOW The extra Russian military forces near the border with Ukraine have been deployed there in response to instability in Ukraine, a Kremlin spokesman said, in a departure from the previous explanation that they were on routine exercises.
"We ... have forces in the region of the Ukrainian border. Some of these forces are based there permanently, others are there to reinforce, against the backdrop of what is happening in Ukraine itself," Dmitry Peskov, spokesman to Russian President Vladimir Putin said on the Rossiya 1 television station.
"Forgive me but, it (Ukraine) is a country where there has just been a military coup, so naturally any country is going to take particular precautionary measures in terms of ensuring its security."
He said as a sovereign state, Russia was free to deploy troops anywhere on its territory without restrictions. He denied allegations that the Russian military was interfering in events inside Ukraine territory. Those assertion were, said Peskov "completely wrong."
(Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; Writing by Christian Lowe)