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Russia has 20,000 troops on Ukraine's border: NATO

NATO said Wednesday that Russia has amassed around 20,000 troops on Ukraine's border in a "dangerous" escalation of the current crisis. Describing the conflict as "fueled by Russia," NATO expressed concern that Moscow could use the excuse of a humanitarian or peacekeeping mission to send troops into eastern Ukraine.

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File photo of a Russian serviceman directs Russian tanks after their arrival in Crimea in the settlement of Gvardeiskoye near the Crimean city of Simferopol.
Reuters
File photo of a Russian serviceman directs Russian tanks after their arrival in Crimea in the settlement of Gvardeiskoye near the Crimean city of Simferopol.

"We're not going to guess what's on Russia's mind, but we can see what Russia is doing on the ground - and that is of great concern," NATO said in a statement. "This is a dangerous situation."

It said the build-up "further escalates" the tenuous situation on the ground and "undermines efforts" at resolving the crisis between Russia and Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has triggered a tense showdown with the West by annexing Crimea and supporting pro-Moscow rebels in eastern Ukraine. Some of those militants are suspected in the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17.

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— By Cassandra Vinograd, NBC News