US says Russia could attack Ukraine ‘any day’ in escalation of alarm



2022-02-12 03:26:30

White Home Nationwide Safety Advisor Jake Sullivan — Reuters/Tom Brenner
  • A US official says Biden would communicate with Putin on Saturday.
  • Any American in Ukraine ought to go away as quickly as doable, says Jake Sullivan.
  • The Pentagon introduced it was sending 3,000 extra troops to bolster ally Poland.

Washington: The USA dramatically raised the alarm Friday over Ukraine, warning {that a} Russian invasion beginning with civilians caught underneath aerial bombing could begin in days and telling US residents to go away inside 48 hours.

An attack by the greater than 100,000 Russian troops at present massed subsequent to Ukraine “could occur any day now,” White Home Nationwide Safety Advisor Jake Sullivan advised reporters in Washington.

Dismissing hypothesis that the Kremlin would by no means set off the disaster whereas the Beijing Olympics had been nonetheless underway in shut Russian ally China, Sullivan stated such an attack “could occur” earlier than the Video games finish on February 20.

The state of affairs of an imminent attack is “a very, very distinct possibility,” Sullivan stated.

Whereas stressing that it was not but recognized whether or not President Vladimir Putin had taken a choice, saying “we can’t predict the exact determination,” Sullivan made clear that the USA was bracing for the worst, together with a “rapid assault” on the capital Kyiv.

“If a Russian attack on Ukraine proceeds, it is likely to begin with aerial bombing and missile attacks that could obviously kill civilians,” he stated. “Any American in Ukraine should leave as soon as possible, and in any event in the next 24 to 48 hours.”

Sullivan spoke shortly after Biden and 6 European leaders, the heads of NATO and the European Union held talks on the worst disaster between the West and Russia because the finish of the Chilly Warfare.

A US official stated Biden would communicate with Putin on Saturday, whereas the French authorities stated that President Emmanuel Macron would even be calling the Russian chief on Saturday.

Underlining the awful outlook, a string of international locations joined the exodus of diplomats and residents from Ukraine, whereas oil costs surged and US equities tumbled.

Sullivan repeated warnings that Russia dangers extreme Western sanctions and stated that NATO, which Putin desires to push again from japanese Europe, is now “more cohesive, more purposeful, more dynamic than any time in recent memory.”

The Pentagon introduced it was sending 3,000 extra troops to bolster ally Poland.

Following the group cellphone name between US and European leaders, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s spokesman stated “the aim is to prevent a war in Europe.” But when Moscow fails to drag again, “the allies are determined to jointly take swift and deep sanctions against Russia.”

These sanctions would goal the monetary and vitality sectors, EU chief Ursula von der Leyen stated.

Russian naval forces and troops, together with items introduced in from everywhere in the huge nation, now encompass Ukraine to the south, east and north.

Russia, which denies any plan to attack Ukraine, already controls the Crimea territory seized in 2014 and helps separatist forces controling Ukraine’s Donbass area in the east.

The Kremlin says its purpose is to get NATO to conform to by no means give Ukraine membership and likewise to withdraw from japanese European international locations already in the alliance, successfully carving Europe into Chilly Warfare-style spheres of affect. The USA and its European allies reject the calls for, insisting that NATO poses no menace to Russia.

Including to tensions, large-scale Russian army drills had been underway Friday with authoritarian ally Belarus, which lies simply north of Kyiv and likewise borders the European Union.

Russia’s protection ministry stated Friday it was additionally holding army workout routines close to Ukraine’s border in the Black Sea.

In keeping with the top of Norway’s army intelligence service, Russia is operationally able to conduct a variety of army operations in Ukraine and the Kremlin simply must make the decision.

The highest US basic and his Russian counterpart talked Friday by cellphone, the Pentagon stated, giving no particulars of the dialogue.

And the European Union stated its non-essential workers ought to go away Ukraine, whereas Israel stated households of its diplomats had been being pulled out. Norway joined Britain in telling its nationals to go away.

The rising alarm comes regardless of efforts at shuttle diplomacy by European officers.

Macron visited each Moscow and Kyiv earlier this week and Scholz is predicted to do the identical in the approaching days. Scholz may also maintain his first in-person assembly with Putin in Moscow.

British Protection Secretary Ben Wallace was in Moscow Friday for uncommon talks along with his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu.

He was accompanied by the UK’s Chief of Protection Workers Tony Radakin, and the pair may also meet Russia’s prime military basic Valery Gerasimov.

Wallace’s go to comes a day after Britain’s International Secretary Liz Truss met along with her Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Moscow for talks that appeared fruitless and ended in mutual recriminations.

There was additionally disappointment after a separate assembly between Russian and Ukrainian negotiators, underneath the mediation of Germany and France. Sources described the assembly as “difficult.”

In some of his starkest feedback but, Biden advised NBC Information on Thursday that Individuals ought to exit Ukraine as a result of “we’re dealing with one of the largest armies in the world” and “issues could go loopy rapidly.”

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