The United States is alarmed by the shelling in the Donbas, said the head of the department Lloyd Austin.

The U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin claims that the Russian Federation continues to build up its forces on the border with Ukraine and is actually approaching the “threshold of NATO.”

“Russia continues to increase its military presence along the borders of Ukraine, including in Crimea, Belarus, as well as in the Black Sea. In many ways, this leads to the fact that Russian troops are right on the threshold of NATO,” the Pentagon chief said at a press conference in Brussels on Thursday. In the Belgian capital, he is taking part in a meeting of the heads of military departments of NATO member countries.

The United States is alarmed by reports of shelling in the Donbas and is currently studying their details, Austin added. “We have seen reports of shelling, and they certainly cause alarm. We are still gathering details,” he said.

At the same time, the Pentagon chief claimed that Washington “has been saying for some time that the Russian side could do something similar to justify a military conflict.” “So we’re going to be watching this very closely,” Austin added.