U.S. top diplomat warns Moscow of consequences amid Russian troop buildup near Ukraine

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Secretary of State Antony Blinken gives a property briefing astatine the extremity of a NATO Foreign Ministers' gathering astatine the Alliance's office successful Brussels, Belgium, March 24, 2021.

Olivier Hoslet | Reuters

WASHINGTON – Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Sunday helium was acrophobic astir the fig of Russian troops amassing connected the Ukrainian borderline and warned Moscow that "there volition beryllium consequences" for aggresive behavior.

"I person to archer you I person existent concerns astir Russia's actions connected the borders of Ukraine. There are much Russian forces massed connected those borders than astatine immoderate clip since 2014 erstwhile Russia archetypal invaded," Blinken said during an interrogation connected "Meet the Press" Sunday.

"President Biden's been precise wide astir this. If Russia acts recklessly, oregon aggressively, determination volition beryllium costs, determination volition beryllium consequences," Blinken said, adding that the United States was discussing the unfolding aggression connected the borderline with allies and partners.

On Friday, Blinken spoke to his German and French counterparts successful part, astir "Russian provocations against Ukraine."

Last week, White House property caput Jen Psaki said that the Biden medication was consulting with NATO allies astir the uptick successful tensions and cease-fire violations.

"The United States is progressively acrophobic by caller escalating Russian aggression successful eastbound Ukraine, including Russian unit movements connected Ukraine's border," she told reporters connected Thursday, calling the substance "deeply concerning."

Read more: U.S. acrophobic astir Russian unit movements adjacent Ukraine, discussing determination tensions with NATO allies

In caller weeks, Moscow has accrued its subject beingness on the Ukrainian border, sparking concerns successful the West of a budding subject struggle betwixt the 2 neighboring countries. The Russian Defense Ministry has said it is conducting much than 4,000 subject drills this month to inspect the readiness of its forces.

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy visits positions of equipped forces adjacent the frontline with Russian-backed separatists during his moving travel successful Donbass region, Ukraine April 8, 2021.

Ukrainian Presidential Press Service | Handout | via Reuters

Last month, the Ukrainian authorities said 4 of its soldiers were killed by Russian shelling successful Donbass. Moscow has denied it has forces successful eastbound Ukraine. Since 2014, Kyiv has been battling Russian-backed separatists successful a struggle that has near astatine slightest 13,000 radical dead, according to U.N. figures.

Read more: The West waits for Putin's adjacent determination arsenic Russia-Ukraine tensions rise

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Friday that Moscow volition determination its forces crossed Russian territory astatine its discretion and called the escalating tensions "unprecedented." He besides suggested that Ukraine was connected the brink of civilian war, which would endanger Russia's security.

"The Kremlin has fears that a civilian warfare could resume successful Ukraine. And if a civilian war, a full-scale subject action, resumes adjacent our borders that would endanger the Russian Federation's security," Peskov said, according to the Associated Press. "The ongoing escalation of tensions is rather unprecedented."

Russian President Vladimir Putin accused Ukraine of resuming "dangerous provocative actions" connected a telephone Friday with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, according to a readout from the Kremlin. The Kremlin has antecedently said that it is acrophobic astir the rising tensions successful eastbound Ukraine and that it feared Kyiv's forces were attempting to restart a conflict.

Last week, the Pentagon reiterated its calls for the Kremlin to explicate its determination to mobilize troops to the border.

"The Russians are engaged successful conducting a subject buildup on the eastbound borderline of Ukraine and successful Crimea, which inactive belongs to Ukraine, and that is of concern. And we privation to cognize much astir what it is they're doing and what their intentions are due to the fact that we don't judge it's conducive to information and stableness there.," Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby told reporters Friday.

Later this week, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin volition conscionable successful idiosyncratic with NATO Secretary Jens Stoltenberg astatine the confederation office successful Brussels.