Pentagon: More Russian troops in Ukraine ready to 'attack at any time'

Western leaders said Wednesday that Russia appeared to be moving more troops into eastern Ukraine, with the Pentagon warning that Russian forces "could attack at any time."

“We certainly believe that additional Russian military forces are moving into [the Donetsk and Luhansk regions]," Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said during a briefing.

“We can't confirm with any great specificity the numbers and what the formations are, what the capabilities are, but we certainly believe that that’s happening,” Kirby added.

“We believe that they are now at a state of readiness where they could attack at any time.” 

The Defense Department spokesman said officials have "seen, sadly and unfortunately, no indication" Russian President Vladimir Putin is "willing to de-escalate, move those troops back home and actually get to some sort of serious diplomatic solution. Every indication, rather, that we see is quite the opposite.” 

Should Putin decide to conduct a full-scale invasion, “this will be a war of choice ... and it won't be bloodless," Kirby said. "There will be suffering, there will be sacrifice, and all of that must and should be laid at his feet. Because he's doing this by choice.”

Latvia's prime minister earlier Wednesday confirmed that Russian troops had moved into the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine.

"According to the information at my disposal, Putin is moving additional forces and tanks into the occupied Donbas territories," Latvian Prime Minister Arturs Krišjānis Kariņš told CNN. "By any definition that's a crossing of a sovereign territory into a neighboring country." 

Russia earlier this week sent what they described as peacekeeping forces into the breakaway territories, where Russian-back separatists have engaged in conflict for eight years. Putin earlier on Monday recognized the two territories, Donetsk and Luhansk, as independent, sparking broad global condemnation.

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