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Russia-Ukraine Crisis Live Updates: Putin and Xi to Meet in China

Credit…Brendan Hoffman for The New York Times

The Kremlin denounced the United States on Thursday for deploying additional troops to Eastern Europe, saying the move was intended to “stir up tensions,” even as American officials and satellite imagery indicated that Russia had not slowed its large-scale buildup of military forces that threaten an invasion of Ukraine.

Pentagon officials said on Wednesday that Russia had amassed more troops and military hardware over the past 24 hours near the Ukrainian border and in neighboring Belarus, and that 3,000 additional American troops would be sent to help defend NATO allies from the threat of Russian aggression.

The Kremlin spokesman, Dmitri S. Peskov, accused the United States of “igniting tensions on the European continent,” and described the U.S. deployment to Poland and Romania as a threatening act “in the vicinity of our borders.”

“Clearly, Russian concerns are justified and understandable,” Mr. Peskov told reporters on Thursday. “All measures to ensure Russia’s security and interests are also understandable.”

The Biden administration said the troops would ensure the “robust defense of NATO territory” in light of Russia’s refusal to de-escalate tensions surrounding Ukraine, which have built to a fever pitch since Moscow began gathering forces on three sides of its smaller neighbor late last year.

“These are not permanent moves — they are precisely in response to the current security environment in light of this increasing threatening behavior by the Russian Federation,” said Ned Price, the State Department spokesman. Mr. Price emphasized that the United States would not send troops into Ukraine.





Border with Russian units

Transnistria, a

Russian-backed

breakaway region

of Moldova.

Russia invaded and

annexed the Crimean

Peninsula from

Ukraine in 2014.

Approximate line

separating Ukrainian and

Russian-backed forces near

two breakaway provinces.

Border with

Russian units

Russia annexed

the Crimean

Peninsula from

Ukraine in 2014.

Transnistria, a

Russian-backed

breakaway region

of Moldova.

Approximate line

separating Ukrainian

and Russian-backed

forces.


The recriminations on Wednesday illustrated that the threat of conflict remained high despite weeks of high-stakes diplomacy, as several European allies made overtures to President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia in an effort to cool tensions. President Emmanuel Macron of France was scheduled to speak with Mr. Putin later on Thursday, their fourth phone call in a week.

Mr. Putin signaled this week that he was open to a diplomatic resolution, but continued to portray the United States and its Western allies as aggressors and to demand a halt to NATO expansion in former Soviet states.

The United States and NATO have rejected Moscow’s main security demands, but indicated that there could be room for discussion on limited security issues, including arms-control measures and the placement of missiles in some Eastern European states that Moscow views as threatening.

Russian officials have said that Mr. Putin is still studying the American and NATO proposals.

At the same time, Russia has sought to show that it is not alone in its confrontation with the United States and its allies.

On Thursday, Russia’s defense minister, Sergei K. Shoigu, arrived in Belarus ahead of joint military exercises planned for this month. Moscow has massed a large amount of troops and hardware in Belarus — which shares a border with Ukraine and lies a little over 100 miles from the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv — for what it says are routine drills. But American officials have described the buildup as far larger than what has been seen in previous exercises.

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