Blinken warns Moscow of consequences amid troop buildup near Ukraine

Secretary of State Antony Blinken provides a press briefing on the finish of a NATO Foreign Ministers’ assembly on the Alliance’s headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, March 24, 2021.

Olivier Hoslet | Reuters

WASHINGTON – Secretary of State Antony Blinken mentioned Sunday he was involved in regards to the quantity of Russian troops amassing on the Ukrainian border and warned Moscow that “there will be consequences” for aggresive habits.

“I have to tell you I have real concerns about Russia’s actions on the borders of Ukraine. There are more Russian forces massed on those borders than at any time since 2014 when Russia first invaded,” Blinken mentioned throughout an interview on “Meet the Press” Sunday.

“President Biden’s been very clear about this. If Russia acts recklessly, or aggressively, there will be costs, there will be consequences,” Blinken mentioned, including that the United States was discussing the unfolding aggression on the border with allies and companions.

On Friday, Blinken spoke to his German and French counterparts partially, about “Russian provocations against Ukraine.”

Last week, White House press secretary Jen Psaki mentioned that the Biden administration was consulting with NATO allies in regards to the uptick in tensions and cease-fire violations.

“The United States is increasingly concerned by recent escalating Russian aggression in eastern Ukraine, including Russian troop movements on Ukraine’s border,” she instructed reporters on Thursday, calling the matter “deeply concerning.”

Read extra: U.S. concerned about Russian troop movements near Ukraine, discussing regional tensions with NATO allies

In latest weeks, Moscow has elevated its navy presence alongside the Ukrainian border, sparking issues within the West of a budding navy battle between the 2 neighboring international locations. The Russian Defense Ministry has mentioned it’s conducting more than 4,000 military drills this month to examine the readiness of its forces.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy visits positions of armed forces near the frontline with Russian-backed separatists throughout his working journey in Donbass area, Ukraine April 8, 2021.

Ukrainian Presidential Press Service | Handout | by way of Reuters

Last month, the Ukrainian authorities mentioned 4 of its troopers had been killed by Russian shelling in Donbass. Moscow has denied it has forces in japanese Ukraine. Since 2014, Kyiv has been battling Russian-backed separatists in a battle that has left at the least 13,000 folks lifeless, in line with U.N. figures.

Read extra: The West waits for Putin’s next move as Russia-Ukraine tensions rise

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov mentioned Friday that Moscow will transfer its forces throughout Russian territory at its discretion and known as the escalating tensions “unprecedented.” He additionally prompt that Ukraine was on the brink of civil conflict, which might threaten Russia’s safety.

“The Kremlin has fears that a civil war could resume in Ukraine. And if a civil war, a full-scale military action, resumes near our borders that would threaten the Russian Federation’s security,” Peskov mentioned, according to the Associated Press. “The ongoing escalation of tensions is quite unprecedented.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin accused Ukraine of resuming “dangerous provocative actions” on a name Friday with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in line with a readout from the Kremlin. The Kremlin has beforehand mentioned that it’s involved in regards to the rising tensions in japanese Ukraine and that it feared Kyiv’s forces had been making an attempt to restart a battle.

Last week, the Pentagon reiterated its requires the Kremlin to elucidate its choice to mobilize troops to the border.

“The Russians are engaged in conducting a military buildup along the eastern border of Ukraine and in Crimea, which still belongs to Ukraine, and that is of concern. And we want to know more about what it is they’re doing and what their intentions are because we don’t believe it’s conducive to security and stability there.,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby instructed reporters Friday.

Later this week, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin will meet in particular person with NATO Secretary Jens Stoltenberg on the alliance headquarters in Brussels.