The Russian invasion of Ukraine could begin “at any time,” says the national security adviser
The Biden administration is increasingly concerned that Russia could invade Ukraine in the coming days as Russian President Vladimir Putin shows no signs of de-escalation or meaningful diplomacy to end the standoff. The government is now urging Americans still in Ukraine to leave Ukraine as soon as possible, but within 24 to 48 hours at most.
President Biden on Friday morning convened a virtual call with leaders of Canada, key European allies and heads of NATO and the European Commission to discuss concerns that Russia continues to mass troops and military equipment in Ukraine. While leaders have generally disagreed, their views on what Putin’s intentions are differ. Russia insisted but at the same time it will not allow its interests to be ignored.
“We continue to see signs of Russian escalation, including new forces arriving at the Ukrainian border,” White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters on Friday. “As we have said, we are at the point where an invasion could begin at any time should Vladimir Putin decide to order it. I won’t comment on the details of our intelligence information, but I want to be clear: it could start during the Olympics, despite much speculation that it would only happen after the Olympics.”
theheld in China will end on February 20th. Sullivan made it clear that Americans who remain in Ukraine are in danger and the US military will not enter the country to extract them if Russia invades.
“The President will not risk the lives of our men and women in uniform by sending them into a war zone to rescue people who could have gone but chose not to,” Sullivan said.
American officials again expressed their concerns on Friday. While traveling in Australia, Foreign Secretary Antony Blinken said: “We are in a window where an invasion could begin at any moment. And to be clear, that includes during the Olympics.”
Blinken’s comments came after the president called a Situation Room meeting late Thursday to discuss Russia’s military operations with senior security advisers, according to people familiar with the meeting.
Also on Thursday, Mr. Biden used an interview with NBC News to again warn Americans in Ukraine to “go now.”
“We are dealing with one of the largest armies in the world. It’s a very different situation and things could get crazy fast,” the president said.
The spate of diplomatic activity comes as Russia has stationed six warships in the Black Sea, limiting if not cutting off Ukraine’s sea access and increasing the number of Russian forces now encompassing the former Soviet republic.