Despite days ago Ukraine's government expressly denying earlier reports in The Washington Post and CNN of a new major Russian troop build-up along the Russia-Ukraine border, a pair of Republican lawmakers are urging the White House to immediately ramp up weapons sales to Kiev. They are citing the threat of "invasion" by Russian forces.
"With the recent massing of Russian forces on the Ukrainian border, we urge your administration to take immediate and swift action to provide support to Ukraine in the form of intelligence and weapons," representatives Mike Rogers and Mike Turner wrote in a letter first reported on by DefenseNews Friday.
Further alarming is that the Congressmen are leading calls for a beefed up American military presence in Ukraine and in the Black Sea region, which is site of recent dangerous intercept encounters between US and Russian aircraft.
"We also urge your administration to deploy a US military presence in the Black Sea to deter a Russian invasion," the letter stated. "Additionally, we urge you to immediately consider an appropriate US military presence and posture in the region and to initiate appropriate intelligence sharing activities between the US and Ukraine to prevent the situation from escalating further."
It appears the pair of Russia hawks are urging such escalatory action literally based on fake news, given as Reuters detailed this week, the government of Ukraine denied the reported Russian troop build-up, and the Pentagon did not confirm it either while downplaying the possibility:
"As of November 1, 2021, an additional transfer of Russian units, weapons and military equipment to the state border of Ukraine was not recorded," the Ukrainian defense ministry said in a statement.
In Washington, the Pentagon said it was aware of public reports about "unusual activity".
"We're certainly monitoring the region closely as we always do so and as we've said before, any escalatory or aggressive actions will be of great concern to the United States," Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said.
Rogers is a ranking member House Armed Services Committee, while Rep. Turner sits on the Strategic Forces Subcommittee.
After Ukraine's initial denial of a threatening troop build-up on the border, Ukraine's defense ministry later on Wednesday said that some 90,000 Russian troops have a presence "not far from the border". Kiev also cited ongoing Moscow support to pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine's eastern Donbass region. It remains that whenever Russia's military moves large amounts of troops within its own sovereign country the media and congressional hawks typically hype it as "the Russians are coming!"