US official: Russia has deployed 7,000 more troops near Ukraine

He stressed that Russia could “at any moment” create a pretext to invade Ukraine, adding: “Russia says it wants to find a diplomatic solution, but its actions indicate the opposite.”

“The Russian government said yesterday that it is withdrawing troops from the border with Ukraine. They attracted a lot of attention because of this claim, both here and around the world. But we now know it’s false,” the US official said.

On Wednesday, US President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz discussed the issue of the Russian military build-up near Ukraine during a phone call.

They stressed the importance of strengthening NATO’s eastern flank if Moscow invaded.

A German government spokesman said both sides agreed that the situation in Ukraine should be assessed as “extremely dangerous”, as there remained a risk of further Russian military action.

The White House said in a statement that Biden and Schulz discussed their respective recent talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

The White House added that Biden and Schulz “emphasized their commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and stressed the importance of continued coordination between the United States and Europe on diplomacy and deterrence measures and the strengthening of NATO’s eastern flank if Russia invaded Ukraine further.”

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