US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken told France 24 in an interview on Monday that the United States is “extremely concerned that Russia will take action against Ukraine this week.”
The Pentagon announced Monday that Russia has increased the number of troops surrounding Ukraine over the weekend, estimating the total number of Russian forces along the Russia-Ukrainian border and in Belarus at well over 100,000.
Blinken noted that Moscow’s military buildup indicated an escalation of tensions, not a de-escalation that world powers had urged Russia to do.
In an interview with France 24’s Kethevani Georgistani and Sonia Dredi, Blinken said Washington was “extremely concerned that Russia will take action against Ukraine as early as this week.”
“Everything we see, regarding the deployment of Russian forces around Ukraine – on each side of Ukraine – leads us to this conclusion,” he said, noting that Moscow, “instead of de-escalation, was escalating” by sending more and more troops “to the region.”
Although Blinken said the United States was “doing everything in its power to convince Russia that it should take the diplomatic path,” he cautioned that Washington stands ready if Russia chooses to invade Ukraine.
“We are fully prepared for this, in close coordination with all our European allies and partners.”