[guest post by Dana]
No Russian troops were withdrawn from the border with Ukraine, a senior Biden administration official told reporters Wednesday night, disputing Moscow’s claim that it was pulling back some forces.
“We now know it was false,” the official said, adding that as many as 7,000 troops have joined the 150,000 already near the border in recent days.
The official said troops were arriving as recently as Wednesday and Moscow could launch a false pretext to invade Ukraine at any moment. The official also gave one of the grimmest assessments yet for the possibility of reaching a diplomatic solution to avoid war.
Also being reported:
This at one of very few operational crossing points between Kyiv- and separatist-controlled territory in Donbas: https://t.co/IXPdPCjFGW
— Felix Light (@felix_light) February 17, 2022
Just two days ago, President Biden discussed America’s response if Russia were to invade Ukraine, saying:
If Russia proceeds, we will rally the world to oppose its aggression.
The United States and our Allies and partners around the world are ready to impose powerful sanctions on [and] export controls, including actions that did not — we did not pursue when Russia invaded Crimea and eastern Ukraine in 2014. We will put intense pressure on their largest and most significant financial institutions and key industries.
These measures are ready to go as soon and if Russia moves. We’ll impose long-term consequences that will undermine Russia’s ability to compete economically and strategically.
And when it comes to Nord Stream 2, the pipeline that would bring natural gas from Russia to Germany, if Russia further invades Ukraine, it will not happen.
While I will not send American servicemen to fight Russia in Ukraine, we have supplied the Ukrainian military with equipment to help them defend themselves. We have provided training and advice and intelligence for the same purpose.
And make no mistake: The United States will defend every inch of NATO territory with the full force of American power. An attack against one NATO country is an attack against all of us. And the United States commitment to Article 5 is sacrosanct.
Already, in response to Russia’s build-up of troops, I have sent additional U.S. forces to bolster NATO’s eastern flank.
If you have time, give a listen to Garry Kasparov’s insightful observations about Putin, the Ukraine, and the impending disaster here.