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Iran Press TV

White House: Putin giving 'serious consideration' to invade Ukraine

Iran Press TV

Friday, 17 December 2021 11:59 PM

White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan has said that American intelligence agencies have concluded that Russian President Vladimir Putin still hasn't made up his mind on whether to invade Ukraine but he is giving "serious consideration" to doing so.

The United States, its NATO allies and Ukraine have over the past weeks accused Moscow of enlarging the number of troops near Ukraine's border for a possible invasion. Russia has dismissed the allegation, but it has warned against any provocation from Ukraine.

Russia has repeatedly said it was free to move its troops around within its own borders but stated that its military buildup is not provocative. Russia said it is taking defensive measures against Ukraine's closer alliance with the West and aspirations to join NATO.

"The current assessment of the U.S. government is that he has not yet made a decision," Sullivan told an audience at the Council on Foreign Relations on Friday.

"I have high confidence in our capacity to see what has been a significant Russian military buildup in the vicinity of Ukraine and in Ukraine itself, in Crimea and other places," he added.

"I also think that the analysis that the intelligence community has laid out to indicate that the Russian government is giving serious consideration and operational planning to such an exercise is well-validated," Sullivan continued.

"It's something that we've shared with allies and partners, and it has motivated them to join us in a very strong chorus of clear messaging around the massive consequences ... that would befall Russia should it choose to further invade Ukraine," he stated.

Last week, US President Joe Biden warned Putin against Moscow taking military action against Kiev, claiming the Kremlin would pay "a terrible price" and suffer massive consequences if it were to attack its southern neighbor.

"I made it absolutely clear to President Putin ... that if he moves on Ukraine, the economic consequences for his economy are going to be devastating, devastating," he said.

However, Biden said the possibility of the US sending its troops to Ukraine in the event of a Russian attack was "never on the table."

Sullivan said the US is prepared to engage with Russia regarding its concerns with NATO but said officials would coordinate closely with allies.

"We're going to put on the table our concern with Russian activities that we believe harm our interests and values," Sullivan said. "We can make progress in some areas. In other areas, we're just going to have to disagree."

The United States and the United Kingdom have threatened Russia with "massive consequences" if it launches a military action in neighboring Ukraine, despite the fact that Moscow has rejected Washington's allegations of preparing to invade the country.

A senior US State Department official on Saturday said the Group of Seven richest countries and its allies will impose tough measures if Russia abandons diplomacy in dealing with Ukraine.

The official told reporters at a meeting of the grouping's top diplomats in Liverpool, northwest England, that Russia still had time to adopt a diplomatic path to de-escalate the tensions with Ukraine.

Led by British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the European Union and foreign ministers from France, Italy, Germany, Japan and Canada met in Liverpool.

Opening the talks, Britain's foreign secretary warned that Russia would face "severe consequences" if it invaded Ukraine.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg also warned Russia against escalating any conflict in Ukraine.

"There will be a high price to pay for Russia if they once again use force against the independence of the nation," he said, according to Reuters.

In response, Putin warned that Moscow will act if the US-led NATO military alliance crosses its red lines in Ukraine.

Putin said the expansion of NATO military infrastructure in Ukraine was a red line he hoped would not be crossed.

The Russian leader further said Moscow would view the deployment of certain offensive missile capabilities on Ukrainian soil as a trigger.

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