On Sunday, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan issued dire warnings about Russia and Ukraine, but insisted that US forces deployed in Europe had “not sent to fight Russian forces in Ukraine.”
During an appearance on ABC’s “The Week,” Sullivan echoed statements by other U.S. officials in saying a Russian invasion of Ukraine could take place as soon as tomorrow, though Moscow has repeatedly denied allegations that internal troop movements were preparing for a potential conflict.
Sullivan insisted, however, that sending 1,700 US troops to Poland, as part of a 3,000-man deployment in Europe, was not a move to escalate tensions in the region – which Ukraine itself has accused the West of doing so in recent weeks.
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The deployed forces, Sullivan said, have “not sent to fight Russian forces in Ukraine.” They are there for “defend our NATO allies” and send a “clear message” to Russia that “aggression” against these allies will come up against a “firm answer” he stated.
Sullivan claimed there was a “very distinct” possibility of Russia invading Ukraine, maybe even “tomorrow.”
Kiev has warned against rhetoric about the possibility of conflict in eastern Ukraine, where the country’s troops have been locked in a stalemate with the two self-declared republics of Donetsk and Lugansk since 2014. Ukraine’s presidential adviser , Mikhail Podolyak, said in a statement on Sunday that the “chance to find a diplomatic solution for de-escalation” is “significantly higher” in the region that “a new escalation”.
Thousands of troops were sent to Poland, Germany and Romania this week by Biden in response to fears of Russian aggression against Ukraine. US officials have insisted that Russia has 70% of its forces in place for an attack, although Kremlin officials have denied this and accused the US of escalating tensions with the deployment of troops in Europe from the east.
“It is obvious that these are not measures aimed at defusing tensions but, on the contrary, they are actions that lead to an increase in tensions”, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said this week.
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