US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said Russia could attack Ukraine “on very short notice” and warned again of tough sanctions if it did.
He was speaking on a visit to the Ukrainian capital Kyiv after months of tension over a Russian military build-up near Ukraine’s borders.
Stressing the US’s close ties with Ukraine, Blinken vowed “relentless” diplomacy to stop Russian aggression.
Blinken said Russia had built up troops near Ukraine’s borders with “no provocation, no reason“.
“We know that there are plans in place to increase that force even more on very short notice, and that gives President Putin the capacity, also on very short notice, to take further aggressive action against Ukraine,” he said.
He accused Russia of trying to weaken Ukraine’s diplomatic institutions and divide Ukrainian society “using everything from election interference to disinformation to cyber attacks”.
He pledged “relentless diplomatic efforts to prevent renewed aggression and to promote dialogue and peace”, and repeated a warning of tough sanctions against Russia in the event of an invasion.
Blinken will meet his Russian counterpart in Geneva on Friday, after talks with European allies in Berlin.