During a Pentagon Press conference with reporters on March 20, 2014 Rear Admiral John Kirby answered the following question with regard to the number of Russia troops on the ground in Crimea:
“REAR ADM. KIRBY: Sure. They didn’t get into specific numbers. And as to the numbers themselves, I’d direct you to the Russian Ministry of Defense. They should be able to account for the troops they have, and particularly because they’re exercises. So clearly thousands, but I’m not prepared to give you an actual number, and I think, again, that’s a question that they should answer.