WASHINGTON, Feb 6 (Reuters) – Russia could invade Ukraine within days or weeks but could still opt for the diplomatic route, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said on Sunday. “We are within the window. Any day now, Russia could take military action against Ukraine, or it could be weeks away, or Russia could choose to take the diplomatic route instead,” he said. Sullivan told Fox News Sunday. program.
Sullivan made the comments in TV interviews after two US officials said on Saturday that Russia, which took Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, has about 70% of the combat power it believes it needs. for a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
As Russia is massing more than 100,000 troops near the border, Moscow has said it does not plan an invasion but may take unspecified military action if its security demands are not met .
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These include a promise that NATO will never admit Ukraine, a demand that the United States and the 30-nation Western security alliance have called unacceptable.
Possible Russian action could include annexation of Ukraine’s Donbass region, where Russian-backed separatists broke control of the Ukrainian government in 2014, cyberattacks or a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Sullivan added. claiming that Russia could act as soon as Monday, but it could also be weeks.
“We think there’s a very clear possibility that Vladimir Putin is ordering an attack on Ukraine,” Sullivan told ABC’s “This Week,” referring to the Russian leader.
“It could take different forms. It could happen as soon as tomorrow, or it could still take a few weeks. He’s gotten into position with military deployments so he can act aggressively against Ukraine at any time now,” Sullivan said. added.
US TROOPS LAND IN POLAND
Ukraine, while seeking more military aid, has also sought to calm fears of an invasion. On Sunday, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba urged people to ignore “doomsday predictions”, saying his country was strong and had unprecedented international support.
Washington has made it clear that it will not send American soldiers to defend Ukraine, which is not a member of NATO.
However, Washington has given arms to Kiev and said last week it would send nearly 3,000 additional troops to Poland and Romania to protect Eastern Europe from potential fallout from the crisis.
A plane carrying US troops landed in Poland on Sunday, a Reuters witness said. On Wednesday, the Pentagon said about 1,700 military personnel, mostly from the 82nd Airborne Division, would be deployed from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, to Poland.
US President Joe Biden sent a message to the troops upon his arrival at the White House after a weekend at his Delaware home. “We are thinking of you,” he said, clenching his fist as he addressed reporters.
Biden said he would not speculate on whether he might need to send more troops to Europe. Asked what Putin weighs as he decides whether or not to go ahead with an invasion, Biden said the Russian president is looking for “things he can’t get.”
Biden spoke with French President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday ahead of the French president’s visit to Moscow, an effort to lower tensions coordinated with Washington and Berlin, according to a White House statement.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who will meet Biden at the White House on Monday, signaled on Sunday that he is ready to deploy more troops to Lithuania to bolster NATO’s eastern flank.
“DIRECT IMPACT” OF SANCTIONS
The United States, along with its allies, threatened heavy economic sanctions against Russia in the event of an invasion. These could include financial penalties as well as export control measures.
US Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo said on Sunday that any sanctions would hit Putin and Russian elites hard given their dependence on Europe, which is Russia’s biggest trading partner, and the American dollar.
“By acting in concert between the United States and Europe, we will put ourselves in a position where not only will we have an impact on the entire Russian economy, but we will have a direct impact on President Putin, who is tied to the Russian economy,” he told CBS News’ “Face the Nation.” On a daily basis, Russian financial institutions carry out around $46 billion in financial transactions worldwide, 80% of them in dollars, Adeyemo said. Russia’s largest trading partner is Europe, which accounts for around 40% of Russian trade.
Asked if Russia could look to China instead, Adeyemo said the severity of planned US sanctions and Russia’s ties to the West would make it difficult.
China “does not have access” to the critical technologies that Russia relies on from the United States and its allies, he told CBS.
“Russian elites, who would be cut off from the global financial system, do not put their money in China. They put their money in Europe and the United States,” Adeyemo said.
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Reporting by Susan Heavey in Washington and Arshad Mohammed in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Additional reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt and Sarah N. Lynch in Washington and Anna Koper and Kuba Stezycki in Warsaw; Written by Arshad Mohammed and Simon Lewis; Editing by Chris Reese
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