The US is warning its European allies that Russia may be pondering a potential invasion of Ukraine as the Biden administration monitors a troop buildup on the frontier between the two nations, according to a new report.
Bloomberg, citing multiple people familiar with the situation, reported that American officials have briefed their European Union counterparts on their worries over the situation. The outlet added that the US assessments are based on information that has not yet been shared with European governments, which would have to happen before any decision on a “collective response” is made.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday that the US is “monitoring the region very closely” and would “continue to consult closely as well with allies and partners on this issue.”
“As we’ve made clear, any escalatory or aggressive actions would be of great concern to the United States,” said Blinken, who spoke alongside his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba.
Blinken said the US did not know Russia’s intentions but said Moscow’s “playbook” has been in the past to invent provocations along its border to justify military intervention.
“We don’t have clarity into Moscow’s intentions, but we do know its playbook,” he said. “If there are any provocations that we’re seeing, they’re coming from Russia.”
Last week, 15 Republican members of the House Armed Services Committee called on President Biden to step up the amount of lethal aid going to support the Kiev government in its battle against Russian-backed separatists — as well as deploy US forces in the Black Sea.
“Russia’s behavior is becoming more aggressive, and it has intensified rhetoric critical of Ukraine on topics ranging from Ukraine’s military modernization and military partnerships to Ukraine’s admission into NATO,” the letter read.
“Your administration cannot ignore Russia’s continued threat to international law and Ukraine’s territorial sovereignty.”
Last week, CIA Director William Burns led a US delegation to Moscow, where discussions reportedly included a phone call between Burns and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Associated Press reported that the delegation had warned senior Russian officials of potential consequences for any increased threat to Ukraine’s security.
Ukraine’s Defense Ministry said last week that about 90,000 Russian troops are stationed not far from the border and in rebel-controlled areas in Ukraine’s east.
Russia has repeatedly denied any presence of its troops in eastern Ukraine.
Earlier this year, a massive buildup of Russian troops in the west of the country raised concern in Ukraine and in the West. Russian officials said the troops were deployed for maneuvers, casting them as part of measures to counter security threats posed by the deployment of NATO forces near Russian borders.
With Post wires