Issued on: 14/02/2022 – 22:25
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken says Russia has escalated, rather than de-escalated tensions over Ukraine in the past few days. © FRANCE 24
The United States is “deeply concerned that Russia could take action against Ukraine as early as this week”, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told FRANCE 24 in an interview on Monday.
The Pentagon announced on Monday that Russia had increased the number of troops surrounding Ukraine over the weekend, estimating the total number of Russian troops along the Russia-Ukraine border and in Belarus at well above 100,000.
Blinken noted that Moscow’s military build-up indicated an escalation of tensions and not the de-escalation that world powers have been urging Russia to undertake.
In an interview with FRANCE 24’s Kethevane Gorjestani and Sonia Dridi, Blinken said Washington was “deeply concerned that Russia could take action against Ukraine as early as this week”.
“Everything we are seeing, in terms of the deployment of Russian forces around Ukraine – on every side of Ukraine – leads us to that conclusion,” he said, noting that Moscow, “instead of de-escalating has been escalating” by sending “more and more forces” to the region.
Although Blinken said the US was “doing everything we possibly can to convince Russia that it should take the diplomatic path”, he warned that Washington stood ready should Russia choose to invade Ukraine.
“We’re fully prepared for that, in close coordination with all of our European allies and partners.”