All options are on the table in how to respond to Russia's 'large and unusual' troop build-up near Ukraine's border, and the NATO alliance will decide what the next move will be following consultations next week, the top U.S. diplomat for European affairs said on Friday.
"As you can appreciate, all options are on the table and there's a toolkit that includes a whole range of options," Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Karen Donfried told reporters in a telephone briefing.
"It's now for the alliance to decide what are the next moves that NATO wants to take," she said, speaking ahead of a visit by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken to Latvia and Sweden next week to attend NATO and Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) meetings, where she said Moscow's "large and unusual" troop build up would be topping the agenda.
U.S., NATO and Ukrainian officials have raised the alarm in recent weeks over what they say are unusual Russian troop movements closer to Ukraine, suggesting that Moscow may be poised to launch a attack on its neighbor, accusations Russia has rejected as fear-mongering.
Asked if Blinken was going to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov while in Stockholm, Donfried said she had no announcements to make on such a bilateral but added: "Stay tuned."
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