BRUSSELS — Russia has resumed a military buildup near Ukraine, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rassmussen said Thursday, calling it "a very regrettable step backward."
"I can confirm that we now see a new Russian military build-up — at least a few thousand more Russian troops deployed to the Ukrainian border, and we see troop maneuvers in the neighborhood of Ukraine," Rassmussen said in London.
"If they're deployed to seal the border and stop the flow of weapons and fighters that would be a positive step. But that's not what we're seeing."
Instead, the NATO chief said, Russia appears bent on using it military to intimidate Ukraine further.
"I consider this a very regrettable step backwards and it seems that Russia keeps the option to intervene further," Rasmussen said. "So the international community would have to respond firmly if Russia were to intervene further. That would imply deeper sanctions which would have a negative impact on Russia."
NATO estimated at one point there were up to 40,000 Russian forces deployed near the border with Ukraine, but reported last month that many of the soldiers and their equipment had been pulled back.
© Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.