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Antony Blinken. Photo: Alex Brandon/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said during a press briefing with Ukraine Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba Wednesday that the U.S. is "concerned" Russia may try" to rehash" its 2014 invasion of Ukraine, noting that "any escalatory or aggressive actions would be of grave concern" to the U.S.

What he's saying: "We're concerned by reports of unusual Russian military activity near Ukraine," Blinken said. "We're monitoring the region very closely."

Blinken said that while Russia's intentions remain unclear, the U.S. understands Russia's "playbook," which has previously involved inventing fictitious Ukrainian provocations in order to justify its military actions.

  • "Our concern is that Russia may make a serious mistake of attempting to rehash what it undertook back in 2014, when it amassed forces along the border, crossed into sovereign Ukrainian territory and did so claiming falsely that it was provoked," Blinken said.
  • “If there are any provocations that we’re seeing, they’re coming from Russia," he added.

Driving the news: Renewed buildup of Russian troops along Ukraine's border sparked concern among U.S. and European officials at the end of last month, per the Washington Post.

  • The unusual Russian troop movements harkened back to earlier this year, when similar buildup kindled new fears of a potential Russian invasion.
  • Ukraine has been fighting Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine since Russia illegally invaded and annexed Crimea in 2014.

Worth noting: Blinken said U.S. commitment to Ukrainian independence and sovereignty remains "ironclad." Kuleba added that the two nations shared information about the troop activity with one another.

  • The press conference came after strategic talks between the counterparts in Washington Wednesday.

Go deeper

Nov 26, 2021 - World

Russian coal mine blast kills at least 52 people

Russian Emergencies Ministry employees work at the Listvyazhnaya coal mine in the town of Belovo in the Kuznetsk Coal Basin in Kemerovo Region, southwestern Siberia. Photo: TASS via Getty Images

A methane gas leak and explosion at a Siberian coal mine killed at least 52 people on Thursday, including six rescuers, Russian officials said.

The big picture: Russia's worst mining disaster in more than a decade occurred at the Listvyazhnaya mine in the Kemerovo region after gas filled a ventilation shaft, suffocating workers there, per the New York Times.

Updated 14 hours ago - Technology

From Malcolm X to "Free Britney," new media shapes the justice system

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

True crime documentaries, podcasts and social media campaigns are bringing new attention to real-world legal proceedings — and are often affecting the outcome.

Why it matters: New media platforms can instantly put a national spotlight on cases that have long been forgotten or buried under red tape.

Updated 17 hours ago - Health

The next big bottleneck in the global vaccination effort

Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

The world still needs more coronavirus vaccines, but an additional bottleneck has emerged in many low-income countries: They need help getting shots in arms.

Why it matters: Increasing vaccination rates across the world is both a humanitarian necessity and the best way to prevent dangerous new variants from emerging, but it increasingly requires complex problem-solving.