US Deputy State Secretary Wendy Sherman met with European leaders to discuss ongoing tensions between Russia and Ukraine amid an alleged buildup of Russian forces on their western border, State Department spokesman Ned Price said.
"Deputy Secretary of State Wendy R. Sherman met today with French MFA Secretary General Francois Delattre, German MFA State Secretary Andreas Michaelis, Italian MFA Political Director Pasquale Ferrara, and UK Minister of State for Middle East, North Africa and North America James Cleverly, who represented their respective countries at the meeting of the NATO-Russia Council in Brussels. The group pledged to continue close U.S.-European coordination to deter further Russian aggression against Ukraine, and called for Russian de-escalation, underscoring their shared commitment to diplomacy," Price said in a readout of the meeting on Wednesday.
The leaders agreed in the meeting that any Russian advance on Ukraine would result in massive coordinated consequences, including economic measures, against Moscow, the official added.
The meeting took place following NATO-Russia talks, during which the alliance's enlargement was a central topic of discussion. The US expects further engagement with Russia in the coming days, Price noted.
Later in the day the State Department said Sherman also briefed Bjoern Seibert, Chief of Staff for European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on the NATO-Russia Council.
Russia has repeatedly denied Western accusations of preparing for an invasion, saying it reserves the right to move troops within its sovereign territory as it considers NATO's military activities a threat to the national security of Russia.
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