Russia might attack Ukraine “any day,” according to White House national security advisor Jake Sullivan, initiating a confrontation with “enormous human cost.”
The day after US sources verified that Russia has gathered at least 70% of the military weapons it plans to put in place by mid-month to allow President Vladimir Putin the option of launching a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, President Joe Biden’s senior adviser issued another severe warning.
“If conflict breaks out, it will have a huge human cost for Ukraine, but we believe it will also have a strategic cost for Russia based on our preparedness and response,” Sullivan said.
As he appeared on a trio of Sunday talk shows, Sullivan did not directly address claims that the White House has told legislators that a full Russian invasion might result in the swift takeover of Kyiv and as many as 50,000 dead.
Officials from the United States, speaking on the condition of anonymity, laid out a sequence of clues that imply Putin wants to launch an invasion in the coming weeks, while the magnitude and extent of the invasion remain unknown. They emphasized that they believe a diplomatic solution is still feasible.
An drill of Russia’s strategic nuclear forces, which is typically undertaken in the fall, has been delayed for mid-February to March. This corresponds to the most likely invasion window, according to US sources.
In recent days, the government has increased its warnings that Russia is increasingly focused on seizing Ukrainian territory.
Officials from the Biden administration stated last week that intelligence results revealed that the Kremlin had devised a complex plan to stage a Ukrainian military strike that Russia might use as a pretext to launch military action against its neighbor.
According to Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby, the plan involved the creation of a dramatic propaganda movie including faked explosions, corpses, and actors portraying mourning mourners.
“It may happen tomorrow,” Sullivan added, “or it could take a few weeks.” Putin has “placed himself in a position with military deployments to be able to move violently against Ukraine at any time now,” he continued.
According to Sullivan, the administration is hoping that the Russians would use diplomacy to de-escalate the situation.
“The important point is that the US needs to be and is prepared for any of those possibilities, and we must do so in tandem with our friends and partners,” Sullivan added. “On the eastern flank, we have bolstered and reassured our partners.”
Last week, Texas Rep. Michael McCaul, the senior Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, attended a confidential briefing given to members of Congress by administration officials. He was asked if he walked away from the briefing certain that Russia will act against Ukraine.
“I believe the circumstances are present. It is more than likely. I believe the noose is being made ready. It’s now circulating throughout Ukraine. “We are living in perilous times,” McCaul remarked.
Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Biden’s UN ambassador, said the administration was still looking for a diplomatic solution, but that “at the same time, we know that the Russians continue to prepare,” and that the administration would “try to resolve the security challenges.”
Ukraine, according to Sen. John Barrasso of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is the first step in Putin’s ambition to reconstruct the Soviet Union. He was concerned about the message this might send to US adversaries.
“He needs to choke on attempting to swallow Ukraine because if it’s easy pickings for him, I’m afraid China will move against Taiwan and Iran will move swiftly to a nuclear bomb.”
Meanwhile, elite US troops and equipment arrived in southeastern Poland near the Ukraine border on Sunday, following Vice President Joe Biden’s instructions to deploy 1,700 troops there amid fears of a Russian invasion.
The 82nd Airborne Division is anticipated to arrive at Rzeszow-Jasionka Airport with hundreds more troops. A Boeing C-17 Globemaster jet from the United States Air Force delivered a few dozen men and vehicles.
Maj. Gen. Christopher Donahue is their leader, and he was the last American soldier to depart Afghanistan on August 30.
“Our national contribution here in Poland demonstrates our solidarity with all of our European friends, and we know that we are stronger together at this moment of uncertainty,” Donahue said at the airport.
In the midst of Russia-Ukraine tensions, Biden ordered extra US soldiers to be sent to Poland, Romania, and Germany to emphasize America’s commitment to NATO’s eastern flank. Poland, a NATO member in the east, shares borders with both Russia and Ukraine. Romania has a border with Ukraine.
Within 18 hours, the division may deploy and launch parachute assaults to secure vital objectives. The division was founded in 1917 and is based in Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
On Monday, Biden will meet with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz at the White House. Scholz has stated that if Russia is attacked, it would pay a “heavy price,” but his government’s hesitation to give deadly weapons to Ukraine, boost its troop presence in eastern Europe, or specify which sanctions it will support against Russia has garnered international and domestic criticism.
French President Emmanuel Macron is scheduled to arrive in Moscow on Monday for discussions with Putin, and Scholz will join him in the coming days. According to the White House, Biden and Macron spoke by phone on Sunday, discussing “diplomatic and deterrent measures in response to Russia’s ongoing military build-up on Ukraine’s borders.”
If Russia invades Ukraine again, Sullivan is convinced that the Nord Stream 2 gas project between Russia and Germany “will not move forward.” Although the pipeline is built, the gas has yet to flow.
“While Germany has not provided armaments to Ukraine, they are Europe’s second greatest contributor to Ukraine behind the United States,” Sullivan added. “What’s terrific about having the sort of ties we have with 30 NATO members is that various allies will accept different portions of this.”
On “Fox News Sunday,” NBC’s “Meet the Press,” and ABC’s “This Week,” Sullivan made appearances. Barrasso was on Fox, while McCaul appeared on ABC. On CNN’s “State of the Union,” Thomas-Greenfield was interviewed.