U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday that the U.S. was concerned about Russian military movements near Ukraine’s border.
“We’re concerned by reports of unusual Russian military activity,” Blinken said at the State Department after a meeting with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, adding that the U.S. was “monitoring very closely” the Russia activity.
“As we always do, we’ll continue to consult closely as well with allies and partners on this issue,” Blinken said. “As we make clear, any escalatory or aggressive actions will be of great concern to the United States.”
He said the U.S. was seeking to de-escalate tensions between the two countries.
Blinken’s remarks about Russian military activity were echoed at the Pentagon.
“It’s got our attention, no question about that,” Pentagon press secretary John Kirby told reporters Wednesday.
“What we continue to see is unusual military activity inside Russia but near Ukraine’s borders and we remain concerned about that,” Kirby said. “It’s unusual in its size and scope.”
“It’s not exactly clear what the Russian intentions are,” he added. “And we don’t want to see any action further destabilize what is already a very tense part of the world.”
Russia has backed separatists in eastern Ukraine since its 2014 annexation of Crimea. Russia denies it has any troops in Ukraine.