The US Department of Defense called on Russia to clarify its intentions in connection with the military build-up near the southeastern border of Ukraine and in Crimea.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said Russia did not announce, as is customary, that it is conducting the exercises, keeping its intentions uncertain and causing tensions in the region.
“We urge Russia to be clearer about what they are doing with these forces at the border,” Kirby said at a press briefing.
“It is important … to ease tensions on this border,” he added.
The Pentagon spokesman stressed that all parties must comply with the 2014-2015 Minsk Agreements to end the conflict between Ukraine and pro-Russian separatists, “lower the degree and de-escalate.”
Kirby did not elaborate on what the United States knows about the deployment. Unconfirmed social media videos show significant numbers of Russian military vehicles and armored vehicles entering the area.
According to Kirby, the greatest concern for the United States is the strengthening of the Russian presence near the southeastern border of Ukraine and in Crimea.
“We continue to observe how Russian troops are grouping along the border with Ukraine, in Crimea … and we are very, very closely watching this,” he said.