WASHINGTON: The United States warned Friday it would not accept any use of Russian military forces in eastern Ukraine, amid reports they could be used to protect pro-Moscow civilians in the country.
"We are monitoring the situation carefully. We will not accept the use, under any pretext, of any Russian military forces in eastern Ukraine," said Josh Earnest, a White House spokesman.
"Reports from Moscow that the Russian defense ministry is considering creating military cordons in eastern Ukraine are also troubling," Earnest said.
"We do not see any evidence that the Russian military units arriving to the region are connected to any type of border security mission."
A Russian defense ministry source told RBK news agency this week that troops were prepared to enter Ukraine's insurgent regions in order to "put up barriers between the civilian population and the Ukrainian army".
The Kremlin said on Friday that it had sent new troops to the Ukraine border to shore up security there.