(QHA) -

Russia is building up its military presence on the eastern border of Ukraine, Ukrainian First Deputy Prime Minister Vitaliy Yarema has said.

"Russian troops are continuing to remain along the eastern border of Ukraine, constantly increasing their presence. The Armed Forces of Ukraine, in turn, have been put on full combat alert," he noted.

Ukrainian Defense Minister Igor Tenyukh said 18,430 Russian troops were in Crimea as of Wednesday, with special forces being replaced by mechanized battalions, Lvivska Gazeta reported.

“We are aware of every step that's taken in Crimea -- where troops are being rotated, where military equipment is being moved to, what they are doing, and so on," Tenyukh said before a Cabinet meeting in Kiev. "For instance, Russia is implementing a troop rotation and bringing [special] forces from Chechnya into Crimea."- Tenyuk said.