STUTTGART, Germany (AP) — Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says there is a growing threat that Russia will invade Ukraine, pointing to the increased buildup of Russian troops along the border.
Hagel says he agrees with Poland’s foreign minister, who said Wednesday that the increase in Russian forces near Ukraine’s border heightened the risk of an invasion. Hagel says the longer Russia perpetuates tension and escalates its military activities along the border, the situation will only get worse.
Hagel was speaking to reporters after meetings with U.S. military leaders in Europe, including the top commander, Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove.
U.S. and NATO officials say there are now about 20,000 Russian troops massed just east of Ukraine’s border. The U.S. also says Russia continues to train and equip separatists battling Ukraine’s government.