WASHINGTON — Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, warned Tuesday that the White House fears Russia might invade Ukraine at any time, warning that a “very hazardous situation” is developing near the Ukrainian border.
“We believe we’ve reached a position where Russia may attack Ukraine at any time.” During her regular news briefing, Psaki remarked, “I would argue that’s more stark than we’ve been.”
The evaluation comes as Secretary of State Antony Blinken prepares to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Ukraine this week. On Tuesday morning, Blinken spoke with Russia’s foreign minister, and the two will meet in Geneva, where he will encourage Russia to “take immediate steps to de-escalate,” according to Psaki.
The United States and Russia met this month but were unable to resolve their deadlock after Russia placed more than 100,000 troops around the Ukrainian border. The US has warned Russia that if it invades Ukraine, it will face severe economic consequences, including devastating economic sanctions.
“What Secretary Blinken is going to do,” Psaki added, “is to underline very clearly that there is a diplomatic road ahead.” “It is up to President Putin and the Russian people to decide whether or not they will face serious economic consequences.”
On Tuesday in Crimea, a convoy of Russian armored vehicles travels along a roadway. In what the West thinks is a prelude to an invasion, Russia has gathered an estimated 100,000 troops with tanks and other heavy weapons near Ukraine. AP
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The administration stated on Friday that it had intelligence that Russia is contemplating a “false-flag” operation to justify an invasion of Ukraine. According to a government official, Russia has already positioned a number of operatives in eastern Ukraine to perform a false-flag operation.
“In our opinion, no alternative is off the table,” Psaki said on Tuesday. “We are continuing to consult closely with our European counterparts on the serious ramifications for Russia if it invades Ukraine again.”
Last week, Ukraine was attacked by a major cyberattack that knocked out more than 70 official websites. On Sunday, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told CBS News that the US was still investigating who was responsible for the attack, but that “this is part of the Russian playbook.”
“If it turns out that Russia is launching cyberattacks against Ukraine, and if this continues in the future, we will cooperate with our friends to devise a suitable response,” he said.
“We’re ready either way,” he added, adding that the US is still open to a diplomatic solution.
“If Russia wants to continue down the path of invasion and escalation, we’re ready for that as well,” he said, “with a muscular response that will cut off their strategic position.”