"Morethan 10,000 Russian soldiers in combined arms battalion tacticalunits are massed at the border," Pentagon Press Secretary Navy RearAdm. John Kirby said, Censor.NET citing thePentagon press servicereports.
These battalion groupsconsist of infantry, armor and artillery, and also have organic airdefense capabilities, the admiral said. "They are capable across awide spectrum of military operations," he added.
Kirby called theseforces capable and ready, and he said they are closer to theUkrainian border than Russian forces were in the spring. "Wecontinue to see advanced weapons systems moving across the borderand being provided to the separatists," Kirby said.
These systems includemultiple rocket-launched systems, artillery, tanks and air defensesystems - including the air defense system that allegedly shot downthe Malaysia Airline flight last week. "That activity needs tostop," Kirby said.
U.S. concern is lessabout the pace of the buildup than the fact that it is happening atall, the admiral said. "It does nothing, again, to de-escalatetensions," he said. "It only increases the risk of violence insideUkraine."
Meanwhile, the admiralsaid, the Defense Department continues to look at requests comingfrom the Ukrainian government. "The nonlethal support andassistance that had been previously approved has made its way inthe large part … to Ukrainian security forces," he said.