In keeping with rhetoric from ealier in the week, the U.S. said Thursday that evidence from Ukraine's border shows Russia "moving towards an imminent invasion" — not withdrawing its troops, as the Kremlin has claimed, CNN reports.
"The evidence on the ground is that Russia is moving towards an imminent invasion," said Linda Thomas-Greenfield, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., on Thursday, per CNN. Thomas-Greenfield said that U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will, in a last minute change, address the U.S. Security Council considering "this is a crucial moment."
"Our goal is to convey the gravity of the situation," she added.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin also on Thursday said that, "even in the last couple of days," U.S. officials have seen Russia add to its military presence along the border — evidence once again at odds with Moscow's claims.
"I was a soldier myself not that long ago, and I know firsthand that you don't do these sort of things for no reason, and you certainly don't do them if you're getting ready to pack up and go home, so we and our allies will stay vigilant," Austin said Thursday.
Added NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg: "We don't know what will happen, but what we do know is that Russia has amassed the biggest force we have seen for decades in and around Ukraine."
Also on Thursday, Russia expelled Deputy U.S. Ambassador Bartle Gorman for reasons not immediately known, Reuters reports.