The United States is seriously concerned over reports of Russia’s military buildup along the Ukrainian border, as well as its harsh rhetoric toward Ukraine. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the United States calls on Russia “to deescalate tensions.”
“We don’t have clarity into Moscow’s intentions, but we do know its playbook,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters during a visit to Washington by Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba in November. “And our concern is that Russia may make the serious mistake of attempting to rehash what it undertook back in 2014, when it amassed forces along the border, crossed into sovereign Ukrainian territory, and did so claiming falsely that it was provoked.”
Secretary Blinken emphasized that the United States’ commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity is “rock- solid.”
In response to the unusual and potentially aggressive Russian military activity along Ukraine’s borders, the United States has been working closely with its European allies and partners, including Ukraine, sharing information and intelligence, and preparing for a range of contingencies.
The United States’ most senior military officer, Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley, also spoke recently with his Russian counterpart by phone, discussing, the Pentagon reported, “security related issues of concern” in a “continuation of communications…to ensure risk reduction and operational de-confliction.”
At a press briefing, State Department Spokesperson Ned Price noted that the United States has “not been shy in voicing our concerns about what we’re seeing now [along the Russia Ukraine border], the public reports and information we have about Russia’s unusual military activities, and layering that on top of what we saw in 2014. We are saying all this to make clear not only to Ukraine our rock-solid commitment, but also to the Russian Federation.”
Spokesperson Price pointed out that the United States has spent more than $400 million this year alone in security assistance in support of Ukraine’s sovereignty. “Since the beginning of this Administration, we’ve demonstrated that we are willing and able to use a number of tools to address Russia’s harmful activities,” he declared, “and we won’t hesitate from making use of those tools as appropriate in the future as well.”
“Right now, we’re engaged in diplomacy,” said Mr. Price. “Pursuant to what we see on the ground or what we don’t see on the ground, we’ll change our rhetoric, we’ll change, potentially, our actions as well.”