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US warns Russia to still increase military activity near Ukraine

US officials have warned that Russia continues to increase its military activity around the border with Ukraine, despite diplomatic efforts to defuse the crisis, including a high-level visit to Moscow by the President of Russia this week. French Emmanuel Macron.

The White House and Pentagon on Wednesday said Russia was increasing its military presence near Ukraine, although Macron said earlier this week that Russian President Vladimir Putin had assured him it would not. “Deteriorating or Escalating” in a standing position.

“We have continued to see over the past 24 hours, additional capabilities from elsewhere in Russia to the border of Ukraine and Belarus,” said John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesman. of the Pentagon, said.

“The numbers keep going up. We confirm that he is north of 100,000 [troops] sure. And he keeps adding that ability. We are also seeing signs that additional battalion-level battle groups are on the way. And so every day he adds to his options,” added Kirby.

Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, said: “What we’re looking at here [is] whether Russia is taking escalation steps or not. They are not. They are taking steps to escalate, not de-escalate. We certainly hope that changes.”

After a visit to Moscow on Monday, Macron said he had accomplished his goal of “arranging everything to prevent escalation and open up new paths” for diplomacy. The French president then went to Kyiv to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Also on Monday, Biden met Olaf ScholzThe German chancellor, in an attempt to portray unity between Washington and Berlin, warned Moscow that it would face severe economic sanctions if it launched an invasion of Ukraine.

NATO members of the United States and Europe remain adamant that a diplomatic solution to Ukraine remains their preferred option and that the path to an agreement with Moscow remains open.

However, there are concerns in Washington and in some European capitals that the combination of the threat of sanctions, the deployment of troops to Eastern European allies, aid to Ukraine and diplomatic exchanges with Russia So far has not yielded concrete results.

Biden and Macron spoke again on Wednesday about Macron’s meetings in Russia and Ukraine this week. They discussed “ongoing diplomatic and containment efforts,” according to a White House account of their conversations.

During a Pentagon briefing, Kirby confirmed a report in the Wall Street Journal that some of the 1,700 U.S. troops deployed to Poland recently could be used to help evacuate potentially U.S. citizens. may try to cross the Ukrainian border after the Russian invasion.

Kirby urged American citizens in Ukraine to “pay close attention” to warnings from the US government that they should leave the country now in the face of the Russian threat.

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