U.S. calling on Russia to lower tensions with Ukraine / REUTERS

The United States is calling on the Russian Federation to respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine and not provoke or increase tensions.

That's according to Assistant to the U.S. Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs John F. Kirby who spoke to reporters at the Pentagon on Tuesday about Ukraine and a number of other places, as reported by the U.S. Department of Defense.

"It's difficult to speak about Russian intent, Kirby said, noting that they have a troop buildup in Crimea and in other areas on the border of the two nations to the southeast," the agency said.

Read alsoZelensky urges NATO to expand military presence in Black Sea regionThe U.S. is continuing to monitor the situation there, he said, adding that the U.S. has provided Ukraine with non-lethal and lethal items that allow them to better defend themselves.

"We continue to call for the ceasefires that were called for by the Minsk Agreement, and then… to bring the temperature down, to de-escalate," Kirby was quoted as saying.

Russian troops amassed along Ukraine's borders

  • On March 30, 2021, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Colonel-General Ruslan Khomchak said Russia had deployed 28 battalion tactical groups along the state border of Ukraine and in the temporarily occupied territories. It is also said to be planning to bring up to 25 battalion tactical groups under the guise of preparing for military drills. Such actions pose a threat to Ukraine's military security.
  • The U.S. Department of Defense said it was "aware of Russian troop movements" on Ukraine's borders and was concerned about recent escalations of Russian aggression in eastern Ukraine.
  • On April 1, 2021, the Kremlin commented on the movement of Russian troops near Ukraine's borders, saying this should not cause "any concern" to anyone.
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says Moscow is trying to put pressure on Kyiv by amassing its military forces along the Russian-Ukrainian border. At the same time, he assures Ukraine is ready to counter any provocation and continues to defend in the negotiations the position of maintaining a more effective ceasefire in Donbas.
  • The Ukrainian Defense Ministry's Main Intelligence Directorate does not rule out that enemy forces may try to go for an incursion and deploy their troops deeper into the territory of Ukraine. According to intelligence reports, Russia is building up its military presence near the Ukrainian borders and is completing the preparation of a set of measures aimed at forcing Ukraine into a military response.
  • On April 1, 2021, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Ukrainian Defense Minister Andriy Taran had a phone call on the initiative of the American side. Austin condemned the recent aggressive and provocative actions by Russia in eastern Ukraine and assured his counterpart of U.S. readiness to support Ukraine in the context of Russia's ongoing aggression in Donbas and Crimea.
  • In turn, the Kremlin vowed "additional measures" if the U.S. troops are deployed on the territory of Ukraine.
  • U.S. President Joe Biden in his first call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on April 2, 2021, affirmed the U.S. "unwavering support" for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity "in the face of Russia's ongoing aggression" in Donbas and Crimea.