MOSCOW — Russia has warned it would quickly take "retaliatory measures" if the U.S. and its allies reject its security demands and continue their "aggressive" policies.
The statements Wednesday ratcheted up pressure on the West amid concerns that Moscow is planning to invade Ukraine.
Russia has repeatedly denied it has any such designs. But the United States and its NATO allies are worried because Russia has massed an estimated 100,000 troops near Ukraine's border.
At the heart of the standoff are questions about Ukraine's future: Russia has demanded guarantees that NATO will never admit the country and that the alliance will roll back troop deployments in other former Soviet bloc countries.
Some of these are nonstarters for NATO, creating a stalemate that many fear can only end in a war.
In the past, Russian President Vladimir Putin has expressed frustration with the Soviet breakup of some countries, like Belarus and Ukraine. According to an Associated Press analysis, Putin sees those countries as part of a historic Russian linguistic and Orthodox motherland.
The Pentagon earlier this week ordered 8,500 troops on higher alert — marking a change to a more aggressive stance from the Biden White House.
In addition, NATO allies have begun transporting military equipment toward Ukraine. Denmark sent a frigate to the Baltic Sea and deployed F-16 war planes to Lithuania. Spain sent ships to join NATO's standing maritime force and is considering sending fighter jets to Bulgaria. France said it stands ready to send troops to Romania.
Ukraine has tried to urge its citizens to remain calm and thwart fears of a potential Russian invasion. However, the U.S. has already ordered some of those staying at its embassy in Kyiv to leave the country.