Russia has now amassed around 15,000 troops along the border with Ukraine, the U.S. ambassador to NATO said on Friday, and the Pentagon warned that movement of Russian heavy caliber artillery systems across the border into Ukraine is "imminent."
The Pentagon went further, suggesting Russia is escalating the military action there. U.S. Ambassador to NATO Douglas Lute offered the troop estimate during a security forum in Colorado, saying there were "now up again over about 15,000 Russian troops amassed along the border with Ukraine."
Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, said the U.S. has seen the powerful rocket systems moving closer to the Ukraine border and they could be put into the hands of Russian-backed separatists as soon as Friday. He says he doesn't have an exact timeline.
U.S. officials warned this week that they had new evidence that Russia intended to deliver heavier and more powerful multiple rocket launchers to the separatist forces in Ukraine. Warren told reporters Friday that the delivery could happen at any time, adding "it's that close" to the border.
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