US concerned about Russian deployment near Ukraine

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has expressed concern about a buildup of Russian troops near the border with Ukraine.

Blinken and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba held a joint news conference after their meeting in Washington on Wednesday.

Russia is reportedly keeping about 90,000 troops near the Ukrainian border, after wrapping up drills there.

Blinken said, "We're concerned by reports of unusual Russian military activity near Ukraine. We're monitoring the region very closely."

He added, "The United States' commitment to Ukraine's independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity is ironclad."

Kuleba said, "It is very important that the United States stands by Ukraine in our efforts to defend our sovereignty and territorial integrity in the face of the ongoing Russian aggression."

Tensions have been mounting between the US and Russia over the eastern Ukrainian region.

Russian forces are reportedly stepping up monitoring of US naval vessels in the Black Sea, off the southern Ukrainian region of Crimea that was annexed by Russia.