The Biden administration is stepping up pressure on Russia over a buildup of troops along its frontier with Ukraine.
As Secretary of State Antony Blinken prepared to meet his Ukrainian counterpart in Washington on Wednesday, the top U.S. diplomat for Europe said the administration is watching the border situation closely and would regard any escalation with deep concern.
Karen Donfried, assistant secretary of state for Europe and Eurasia, told The Associated Press that senior Russian officials have been warned of potential consequences for any increased threat to Ukraine’s security from what she called “unusual military activity near Ukraine.”
She would not discuss specific consequences for Russia, but administration officials have in the past said boosting military support for Ukraine is one option. Donfried also said the U.S. would continue to warn Russia against using energy exports as a political weapon against Europe generally and Ukraine specifically.
Donfried was part of a U.S. delegation led by CIA Director William Burns that visited Moscow last week and delivered that message personally to Kremlin officials. After leaving Moscow, Donfried traveled to Kyiv to brief Ukrainian officials on the meetings.