Less than a day after moves by the Russian military to consolidate control over Crimea, its troops are now massing at the Ukrainian border. The Obama administration is concerned that such troop movements could signal Russia’s intention to invade and annex parts of Ukraine, according to a story in the Guardian.
On Saturday, Russian troops seized control of Crimean military bases after Russia officially annexed the peninsular region of Ukraine earlier in the week. CNN reported that one journalist was injured in the maneuvers.
Following the base seizures, the Obama administration urged Russia to have open talks with the Ukrainian government.
So far, that has not happened, and the White House is now concerned about Russisn President Vladimir Putin’s intentions in light of the troop buildup on Ukraine’s borders. President Barack Obama’s deputy national security adviser, Tony Blinken, speculated that Russia could be getting ready to seize more territory.
“It's deeply concerning to see the Russian troop buildup on the border,” Blinken is quoted as saying in the Guardian. “It creates the potential for incidents, for instability. It's likely that what they're trying to do is intimidate the Ukrainians. It's possible that they're preparing to move in.”
Andriy Deshchytsia, Ukraine's acting foreign minister, said that Russian troops on his country’s border only increase the chances of all-out war with Russia.
“The situation is becoming even more explosive than it was a week ago,” he said.
The chairman of the House of Representatives intelligence committee, Mike Rogers, R-Mich., told NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday that U.S. intelligence officials believe “that Putin is not done in Ukraine.”
Rogers said the Obama administration should consider providing arms to Ukraine so it can defend itself.
“We're talking about small arms so they can protect themselves. Maybe medical supplies, radio equipment … defensive-posture weapon systems,” he said on Sunday.
Blinken would not rule out providing such aid to Ukraine when asked if it would be an option.
“All of that is under review,” he said.