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U.S. diplomat: 'Drumbeat of war is sounding loud' over tension in Russia, Ukraine

By Megan Hadley
U.S. diplomat: 'Drumbeat of war is sounding loud' over tension in Russia, Ukraine
Tensions rise as NATO and U.S officials speak with Russian officials in Europe over the Ukraine border possible invasion. Photo by Denis Balibouse/EPA-EFE

Jan. 13 (UPI) -- U.S. officials and NATO members convened with Russian officials this week in Europe over escalating tension in Ukraine.

Currently, around 100,000 Russian troops occupy the Ukraine border.

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According to government officials, Russia's intentions still remain unclear, but the threat of violence has increased.

"The drumbeat of war is sounding loud and the rhetoric has gotten rather shrill," U.S. diplomatic official Michael Carpenter said, according to The Hill.

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Russia's presence along the Ukrainian border "and the live-fire measures being carried out are raising many questions about Moscow's intention," he continued.

Carpenter, who serves as the U.S. ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, also added that the United States had seen artillery systems, electronic warfare systems and ammunition along Ukraine's border.

Intelligence agencies have determined that Russia is "laying the groundwork to have the option of fabricating a pretext for an invasion -- including through sabotage activities and information operations -- by accusing Ukraine of preparing an imminent attack on Russian troops in Eastern Ukraine," national security adviser Jake Sullivan said,according to CNBC.

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"We saw this playbook in 2014, and they are preparing this playbook again," Sullivan continued.

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On Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., filed a bill backed by 25 other Senate Democrats to sanction Russia if it invades Ukraine.

Earlier in the week, Republicans introduced a bill in the House to strengthen Ukraine's defenses while rejecting some Russian demands.

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Meanwhile, the Biden administration warned Russia about "massive consequences" if diplomacy and dialogue failed.

"If the Russian government further invades Ukraine, further destabilizes Ukraine, we are ready and aligned with our allies and our partners to impose severe costs," the White House said.

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