US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin also says a conflict is "not inevitable", adding that Russian President Vladimir Putin "can choose a different path."
As tensions spiralled and fears of a Russian invasion grew, the Ukrainian military said a soldier was killed in shelling by pro-Moscow separatists in eastern Ukraine.
The latest upticks in violence are being watched around the world, with the United States and its NATO allies alleging that the Kremlin is looking for an excuse to invade Ukraine.
Any escalation in Kiev's years-long conflict with the rebels could fuel fresh tensions between Russia and the West and worsen the ongoing standoff.
NATO and Kiev have warned Russia against building up troops near eastern Ukraine, prompting Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov to threaten Western countries with force if they send troops to join the fray.
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