NATO chief says a few thousand more Russian troops at Ukraine's border

LONDON Thu Jun 19, 2014 7:18am EDT

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LONDON (Reuters) - NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Thursday that at least a few thousand more Russian troops were now at Ukraine's eastern border, a build-up he called a regrettable step backwards.

"We now see a new Russian military build-up around the Ukrainian border. At least a few thousand more Russian troops are now deployed," Rasmussen said in London.

"I consider this a very regrettable step backwards. It seems Russia keeps the option open to intervene further in Ukraine," he said. "The international community would have to respond in a firm manner if Russia were to intervene further in Ukraine."

He added: "That would imply deeper ... economic sanctions against Russia which would have a very damaging effect on the Russian economy."

(Reporting by William James and Jack Stubbs; writing by Guy Faulconbridge; editing by Stephen Addison.)