Pentagon warns of ‘unexpected military exercise’ near Ukraine, second day in a row for Russia

The Pentagon today issued a warning to its partners in Eastern Europe that Russia may be readying a surprise military operation against Ukraine, the second time in as many days that President Trump’s administration…

Pentagon warns of ‘unexpected military exercise’ near Ukraine, second day in a row for Russia

The Pentagon today issued a warning to its partners in Eastern Europe that Russia may be readying a surprise military operation against Ukraine, the second time in as many days that President Trump’s administration has been asked to publicly acknowledge concerns about Russia’s intentions.

In a statement Friday morning, the Pentagon said, “Recent reports from the region [Poland and Ukraine] provide reason for concern that Russia may be readying for a major military exercise, which would likely include small numbers of conventional troops in close proximity to each other and Ukraine’s border.”

The statement also pointed out that “the Russian Defense Ministry says it plans to hold no military exercises near Ukraine this year, but Ukraine and their NATO partners should be prepared for possible surprises,” and said that the U.S. is communicating its concerns “directly with our allies.” The Pentagon did not identify the exercises, or suggest whether such an operation would be close to the conflict zone in Ukraine.

The statement comes after a Thursday morning speech in which Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned of a “historic” threat posed by Russia that requires immediate action. The two events are not directly linked — the Wednesday warning was sent to a group of friends and allies — but come on the heels of similar U.S. warnings on Thursday that Russia threatened to strike back against U.S. allies near the Korea-China border. That warning, which was delivered on Thursday evening by Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan to his Japanese and South Korean counterparts, provided Washington with another reason to publicly admit concern over Moscow’s escalating military activities.

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