National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan gave a harsh warning that the US fears Russia will begin an invasion of Ukraine this week, but that diplomacy will win.
On CNN’s “State of the Union,” Sullivan said that Russian forces are in a position where an invasion could occur before the end of the Beijing Winter Olympics on February 20.
“We cannot perfectly predict the day,” Sullivan told Tapper, “but we have now been saying for some time that we are in the window, and an invasion, a major military action by Russia in Ukraine could begin any day now including this week, before the end of the Olympics.”
He said, “Because of the way they have built up their forces and placed everything into place, there is a good chance that serious military action will occur shortly. And we are ready to keep working on diplomacy, but we are also ready to respond with our friends and partners in a unified and resolute manner if Russia goes ahead.”
President Joe Biden had warned Russian President Vladimir Putin of “swift and severe costs” if he ordered an invasion of Ukraine the day before.
According to a US administration official, Russia has more than 100,000 troops on the Ukraine border, with thousands recruited just this week.
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On Saturday, the US withdrew part of its soldiers from Ukraine and ordered the evacuation of the majority of its diplomatic workers. The US Embassy in Ukraine, according to Sullivan, is “ready to finish the withdrawal… should that become required.”
On Friday, Sullivan issued a warning to Americans in Ukraine, saying that military action might start with an aircraft bombardment that could murder people.
He repeated his appeals to Tapper, saying that a military strike would most likely start with missile and bomb assaults.
“They are never as exact as the army or any army for that matter would like them to be.” “We have no idea how exact the Russian army wants them to be,” Sullivan added. “Innocent civilians, regardless of country, might be slain.” The assault would be followed by a ground force going across the Ukrainian border. Again, innocent bystanders may be caught in the crossfire or stuck in positions from which they could not escape.