Speaking at the Reagan National Defense Forum on Saturday, Austin said that the US is “very concerned” about the alleged buildup of Russian forces on the Ukrainian border and will try to ensure that Kiev “has what it needs” to defend its “sovereign territory”, ANI News reported.
The Pentagon chief said he was not going to speculate on different scenarios pertaining to the alleged Russian aggression on its borders.
Over the past several weeks, Ukraine and some Western countries have expressed concern about the alleged increase in what they characterize as “aggressive actions” by Russia on their border. However, Russia has refuted the accusations by saying it is moving troops within its own territory and at its own discretion.
US President Joe Biden plans to discuss the issue of Ukraine, as well as other topics, during the upcoming video call with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday, December 7.
Biden told reporters earlier this week, answering a question about the issue of Ukraine, that he expected a “long discussion” with the Russian president.
Russia has repeatedly said that it stands by its right to move armed forces freely within its territory.
On November 23, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov reiterated that Russia does not have any aggressive plans with regard to Ukraine.
The Kremlin has also expressed concerns about Kiev having aggregated almost half of all its armed forces on the contact line with the Donbas region in the East of the country.