White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on Tuesday that the situation in Eastern Europe has grown so dire that “we are now at a stage where Russia could at any point launch an attack in Ukraine.”
Psaki made the remarks when asked by a reporter during the White House’s press briefing about Secretary of State Antony Blinken traveling to Europe to meet with a top Russian officials and officials in Ukraine and Germany.
“This morning, Secretary Blinken spoke with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov. They agreed to meet in Geneva as you noted. At that meeting, Secretary Blinken will urge Russia to take immediate steps to de-escalate,” Psaki said. “He will also fly to Kiev to consult with President Zelensky and Ukraine’s leaders and to Germany for consultations. As you also know, there is a congressional delegation that is also on their way there. And it’s a note, I would note that that just indicates that support for Ukraine has always been a bipartisan issue, and we welcome that.”
“But where things stand right now, President Putin has created this crisis by amassing 100,000 Russian troops along Ukraine’s borders. This includes moving Russian forces into Belarus recently for joint exercises and conducting additional exercises on Ukraine’s eastern border,” she continued. “So, let’s be clear, our view is this is an extremely dangerous situation. We are now at a stage where Russia could at any point launch an attack in Ukraine.”
Psaki said that Blinken will emphasize that there is a diplomatic way forward to de-escalate the situation and that if Russia invades that “are going to suffer severe economic consequences.”
— CSPAN (@cspan) January 18, 2022
Tensions between the U.S. and Russia have increased dramatically under Democrat President Joe Biden’s administration.
Russia has suggested that it may move military forces to Latin America and could relocate nuclear weapons near the U.S. coastline.
Russian President Vladimir Putin “wants to extend Russia’s sphere of influence to Eastern Europe and secure written commitments that NATO will never again enlarge,” The New York Times reported. “If he is frustrated in reaching that goal, some of his aides suggested on the sidelines of the negotiations last week, then he would pursue Russia’s security interests with results that would be felt acutely in Europe and the United States.”
“There were hints, never quite spelled out, that nuclear weapons could be shifted to places — perhaps not far from the United States coastline — that would reduce warning times after a launch to as little as five minutes, potentially igniting a confrontation with echoes of the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis,” the report added. “The current crisis was touched off by the Kremlin’s release of a series of demands that, if the U.S. and its allies agreed, would effectively restore Russia’s sphere of influence close to Soviet-era lines, before NATO expanded into Eastern Europe. It has also demanded that all U.S. nuclear weapons be withdrawn from Europe, saying it felt threatened by their presence — though the types and locations of those weapons haven’t changed in years. And it wants a stop to all Western troop rotations through former Warsaw Pact states that have since joined NATO.”
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