A State Department official said Friday that “all options” are on the table on how to respond to Russia’s alleged troop build-up near its border with Ukraine and that the US will decide with NATO next week on what steps to take.
“As you can appreciate, all options are on the table and there’s a toolkit that includes a whole range of options,” Karen Donfried, the assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, told reporters.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken is traveling to Latvia on Monday, where he will attend the NATO foreign ministerial. “It’s now for the alliance to decide what are the next moves that NATO wants to take,” Donfried said.
For weeks now, the US has been warning that Russia is planning to invade Ukraine. But Russia strongly denies the claim and insists that any military movement within its own borders is not meant as a threat. Amid the tensions, the US has been very vocal about its support for Ukraine. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan assured his Ukrainian counterpart Friday of Washington’s “ironclad support” for Kyiv.
Also on Friday, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg warned Russia of consequences if it moves on Ukraine. “If Russia uses force against Ukraine that will have costs, that would have consequences,” he said.
Russian officials have pointed to the increase in US and NATO activity in the region as the source of tensions. In the Black Sea, there has been a regular presence of US warships that operate alongside NATO allies. On Tuesday, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said US bombers rehearsed a nuclear strike on Russia this month, and some of the planes came within 12.4 miles of Russia’s border.
The Biden administration is reportedly considering sending military advisors and more weapons to Ukraine, a move that would inflame tensions with Russia even more. The potential weapons package could include new Javelin anti-tank missiles, mortars, and stinger missiles.