Officials from the Biden administration on Sunday again argued that Russia could soon attack Ukraine and the Kremlin could make a surprising excuse for the aggression, but Moscow denied that claim.
“We can’t completely predict that day, but we’ve now said we’re in the window, and one day Ukraine’s Russian invasion could begin- Major military actions may begin. “Whitehouse National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan Said CNN on Sunday reiterated his allegations at a press conference on Friday.
Sullivan said Moscow may consider attacking its neighbors in Eastern Europe until February 20 or before the end of the Winter Olympics in Beijing. He did not provide any specific evidence to support his claim.
Sullivan said Russia had “strengthened” and “mobilized” its troops in certain ways around Ukraine to discuss Moscow’s imminent invasion plans. “We are ready to continue working on diplomacy, but if Russia moves forward, we are ready to unite with our allies and partners in a decisive way,” he said.
Sullivan said Washington will continue to share information with the world to deny Moscow its ability to carry out surprising “false flag” operations that could be an excuse for attacks.
In an interview with Fox News Sunday, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby was asked about reports from politicians claiming that Russia would launch an invasion on February 16.
“I’m not in a position to confirm those reports,” Kirby said. “We want to be careful to talk publicly about intelligence, sources, methods, etc. I can tell you [is] … We believe that large-scale military action could happen someday, ”he continued.
Comments on the Russian media TasDmitry Peskov, a spokesman for the Kremlin, said such claims were “empty and unfounded” and served as a strategy to increase tensions. However, Peskov said Russia did not rule out what he said as a provocation aimed at justifying those claims.
Maria Zakharova, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, on Saturday Accused Some US government officials colluded with mainstream US media to start hysteria. Mr Zakarowa said the United States may be trying to provoke Russia.
On Saturday, Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke with President Joe Biden on the phone. The Kremlin told Biden that Putin had not taken into account Russia’s key concerns and had not received a “substantial answer” to key elements of its security demands.
That same day, Washington ordered most of its staff from the Kiev embassy, as American citizens were urged to leave Ukraine immediately. Other European countries have also reduced their staffing in Ukraine, telling their citizens to flee.
“The diplomatic path remains open. It’s easy to show that Moscow wants to pursue that path. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken escalated instead of escalating after meeting with Asian allies on Saturday. It needs to be lifted. “
Since 2014, Russian troops have occupied the Crimean Peninsula in Ukraine and have also funded separatist rebels in the Donbas region. In recent months, Russia has deployed more than 100,000 troops along its border with Ukraine and conducted military exercises in nearby Belarus, an ally of Moscow.
Reuters contributed to this report.