Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday that Russia may attempt to “rehash” its 2014 military actions against then-Ukrainian-controlled Crimea. Blinken’s remarks came amid calls from lawmakers to provide Ukraine with weapons and bolster the U.S. troop presence in the region.
During an appearance alongside Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, Blinken said the U.S. is “monitoring very closely” Russian activity near the Ukrainian border.
“Our concern is that Russia may make a serious mistake of attempting to rehash what it undertook back in 2014, when it amassed forces along the border, crossed into sovereign Ukrainian territory and did so claiming falsely that it was provoked,” Blinken said, referring to Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea. “So the playbook that we’ve seen in the past was to claim some provocation as a rationale for doing what it, what it intended and planned to do. All which is why we’re looking at this very carefully.”
Blinken added that the U.S. commitment to Ukraine is ironclad.
Blinken’s comments came as around 90,000 Russian troops have gathered near the border with Ukraine.
On Wednesday, Fox News reporter Jacqui Heinrich tweeted, “15 House R’s led by @MikeTurnerOH ask POTUS to consider sending US troops to Ukraine, immediately send intel & weapons support — as Russian forces stage on border. T saying Russian troops/tanks & aggressive behavior fuels concerns Russia is planning additional incursions.” Heinrich shared a screenshot of the November 5 letter.
Reps. Mike Rogers (R-AL), Mike Waltz (R-FL), Vicky Hartzler (R-MO), Joe Wilson (R-SC), Mike Johnson (R-LA), Doug Lamborn (R-CO), Don Bacon (R-NE), Austin Scott (R-GA), Ronny Jackson (R-TX), Scott Franklin (R-FL), Elise Stefanik (R-NY), Pat Fallon (R-TX), Mike Gallagher (R-WI) and Scott DesJarlais (R-TN) signed onto Turner’s letter.
The letter to Biden states, “Your administration cannot ignore Russia’s continued threat to international law and Ukraine’s territorial sovereignty.”
The letter goes on to note a commitment the Biden administration offered in September, to provide $60 million in military aid to Ukraine in response to a “major increase in Russian military activity along its border.”
“Since then, Russia’s apparent military activity has continued to increase in intensity,” the lawmakers wrote. “Therefore, it is imperative that the U.S. fulfill its commitment to a key partner by increasing lethal aid to Ukraine in order to deter and repel a renewed Russian incursion. Additionally, we urge you to immediately consider an appropriate U.S. military presence and posture in the region and to initiate appropriate intelligence sharing activities between the U.S. and Ukraine to prevent the situation from escalating further.”