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Blinken: US concerned about situation on Russian-Ukrainian border

Washington is currently in close contact with its allies and partners in Europe, US Secretary of State said
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken EPA-EFE/JIM LO SCALZO
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken

NEW YORK, April 11. /TASS/. Washington is concerned about the situation on the Russian-Ukrainian border, so the US is currently in close contact with its allies and partners in Europe, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a televised interview with NBC on Sunday.

"I have to tell you I have real concerns about Russia's actions on the borders of Ukraine. There are more Russian forces massed on those borders than at any time since 2014," Blinken said. "That's why we're in very close contact, in close coordination, with our allies and partners in Europe. All of us share that concern."

Blinken pointed out that the Barack Obama’s administration "back then led a very significant international effort to impose real costs and sanctions on Russia" for its reunification with Crimea and for the events in Ukraine. The US Secretary of State claimed that this "deterred Russia from doing even more."

In recent days, Western countries voiced concerns following Ukrainian defense officials’ remarks on Russia’s alleged military buildup along the border with Ukraine. Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said earlier that the Russian Army’s movements within the Russian territory should not alarm other states, since that poses no threat to them. Peskov pointed out that the developments in Donbass were an internal Ukrainian conflict, in which Russian troops had never taken part in.

Tensions has begun escalating in Donbass since late February. Intensive fire exchanges resumed along the engagement line, including with the use of mortars and grenade launchers. The sides, which inked an agreement on additional ceasefire measures last July, traded blame for the rising tensions.

On March 30, Russian President Vladimir Putin held talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron via video conferencing. Among other issues during the talks, Putin voiced his concern about the destabilization in Donbass stirred up by Ukraine.

After a government coup in Ukraine in February 2014 the authorities of Crimea and Sevastopol made a decision to hold a referendum on reunification with Russia. In the voting held on March 16 more than 80% of those eligible to cast their ballots took part. The unification with Russia was supported by 96.7% and 95.6% in Crimea and Sevastopol respectively. On March 18, the Russian president signed a treaty on the accession of the Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol to the Russian Federation. On March 21, the treaty was ratified by the Federal Assembly. In defiance of the indisputable results of the referendum Kiev refused to recognize Crimea as part of Russia.