White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan warns Russia could invade Ukraine ‘any day’ and would overrun Kiev in TWO Days with up to 50,000 civilian casualties
- White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said Sunday that Russia could invade Ukraine ‘any day’
- He said the conflict would come at an ‘enormous human cost’
- Estimated 100,000 troops have amassed on Ukrainian border in recent months
- Germany is accused of being ‘missing in action’ over refusal to commit troops
- Chancellor Olaf Scholz set for crunch talks in Washington over Eastern Europe
White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said Sunday that Russia could invade Ukraine ‘any day,’ launching a conflict that would come at an ‘enormous human cost’ with up to 50,000 civilian casualties.
The senior adviser to President Joe Biden offered another stark warning the day after U.S. officials confirmed that Russia has assembled at least 70 percent of the military firepower it likely intends to have in place by mid-month to give President Vladimir Putin the option of launching a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
‘If war breaks out, it will come at an enormous human cost to Ukraine, but we believe that based on our preparations and our response, it will come at a strategic cost to Russia as well,’ Sullivan said Sunday.
Sullivan did not directly address reports that the White House has briefed lawmakers that a full Russian invasion could lead to the quick capture of Kyiv and potentially result in as many as 50,000 casualties as he made appearances on a trio of Sunday talk shows.
U.S. officials, who discussed internal assessments of the Russian buildup on the condition that they not be identified, sketched out a series of indicators suggesting that Putin intends to start an invasion in the coming weeks, although the size and scale are unclear. They stressed that a diplomatic solution appears to remain possible.
An estimated 100,000 troops have amassed near Ukraine in recent months, but despite repeated calls to pull back, the Kremlin has responded by saying it will station troops wherever it needs to on the Russian territory.
White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said Sunday that Russia could invade Ukraine ‘any day,’ launching a conflict that would come at an ‘enormous human cost’ with up to 50,000 civilian casualties. Above: Satellite images show a large build up of Russian troops and logistics support units just north-west of Yelsk, Belarus on January 19
The stark warning from Sullivan (pictured) comes a day after US intelligence officials warned of Russia being ’70 per cent ready’ to invade Ukraine
The likelihood of a diplomatic resolution of the crisis appears to be increasingly slim, the intelligence analysis concluded. (Above, a photo released by the Russian Defense Ministry Press Service on Saturday shows a tank engaging in a military exercise)
It comes as Germany was accused of being ‘missing in action’ by allies as international tensions continue to mount over Russia’s military build-up on the Ukrainian border.
While other NATO members deploy battlegroups, send tactical supplies and offer more vocal support, the Germans have appeared to draw a line in the sand and refused to offer tangible support.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will travel to the White House next week to reassure Americans that his country stands alongside the United States and other NATO partners in opposing any Russian aggression against Ukraine.
Scholz has said that Moscow would pay a ‘high price’ in the event of an attack, but has so far failed to supply lethal weapons to Ukraine, bolster its troop numbers in the region or elaborate on any planned sanctions he would take against Vladimir Putin.
‘The Germans are right now missing in action. They are doing far less than they need to do,’ Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat and member of the Armed Services Committee, recently told an audience of Ukrainian Americans in his state, Connecticut.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (pictured) will travel to the White House next week to reassure Americans that his country stands alongside the United States and other NATO partners in opposing any Russian aggression against Ukraine
Ukraine is holding military exercises in Chernobyl, with troops firing at abandoned buildings and launching grenades in the deserted exclusion zone as Russian troops continue to amass on the border
Western intelligence assessments believe Kyiv’s government could fall within two days of an invasion and lead to a humanitarian crisis involving around 5million refugees and more than 50,000 civilian casualties.
Germany’s Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht again ruled out supplying Kyiv with arms, after Ukraine’s embassy in Germany sent a list with specific requests to the foreign and defence ministries in Berlin.
The list included missile defence systems, tools for electronic warfare, night vision goggles, digital radios, radar stations and military ambulances – equipment which, in part, is already in short supply.
Referring to an earlier build-up last year, one European official – speaking on condition of anonymity – told the Washington Post: ‘Our worry would be that you don’t park battle groups… on the border of another country twice and do nothing.
‘I think that’s the real fear that I have. [Putin’s] now put them all out there. If he does nothing again… what does that say to the wider international community about the might of Russia?’
Russia would be able to overrun Ukraine in just two days in an invasion that could kill 50,000 civilians, according to US intelligence. (Above, a picture released by the Russian Defence Ministry on February 4 shows rocket launchers during joint exercises of the armed forces of Russia and Belarus as part of an inspection of the Union State’s Response Force, at a firing range in Belarus)
Western intelligence assessments also believe Kyiv’s government would fall within that timeframe, and lead to a humanitarian crisis involving around 5million refugees. (Pictured: Military helicopters take part in the Belarusian and Russian joint military drills at Brestsky firing range on Friday)
US military and intelligence officials believe Russia is set to run a major nuclear weapons exercise in the coming weeks as a warning to Nato not to intervene in the event of Vladimir Putin invading Ukraine
Putin has continued to deny plans to attack Ukraine but urged the US and its allies to provide a binding pledge that they do not accept the former Soviet state into NATO or deploy offensive weapons.
He also wants them to roll back the alliance deployments to Eastern Europe – all demands which have been flatly rejected by the international community.
It came as German media reports said Mr Putin – who objects to the idea of the Ukraine being admitted as a Nato member – had a three-step plan to bring Ukraine under a new ‘union state’ including Russia and Belarus, with Moscow as the centre of control.
The report, attributed by the Bild newspaper to a foreign secret service source, said Ukrainian activists will be rounded up and put into camps once a pro-Russian government had been installed.
Putin has continued to deny plans to attack Ukraine but urged the US and its allies to provide a binding pledge that they do not accept the former Soviet state into NATO or deploy offensive weapons. (Above, ground attack aircraft at Luninets airfield in Belarus on Friday)
It warned that an invasion was currently ‘the most likely scenario’ – adding that it could happen as early as this month as temperatures plummet and allow heavy ordnance and machinery to more easily traverse Ukrainian territory.
In recent months, Russia has conducted a series of joint drills with Belarus and repeatedly sent its nuclear-capable long-range bombers to patrol the skies over its neighbour, which borders Nato members Poland, Lithuania and Latvia.
Belarus’ authoritarian leader Alexander Lukashenko, who has increasingly relied on the Kremlin’s political and financial support amid bruising Western sanctions triggered by his crackdown on domestic protests, has called for closer defence ties with Moscow and recently offered to host Russian nuclear weapons.
As war fears mounted, Ukrainian authorities launched a series of drills for civilians to prepare for a possible Russian invasion.
It comes as US military and intelligence officials believe Russia is set to run a major nuclear weapons exercise in the coming weeks as a warning to Nato not to intervene in the event of Putin invading Ukraine, the Financial Times reported.
General Mark Milley, chair of the joint chiefs, and Avril Haines, director of national intelligence, said on Thursday that Putin was planning to begin the exercises in mid-February, according to a Congressional aide.
Russia usually holds its annual nuclear exercises in the autumn but the US believes Putin has decided to hold them earlier this year as a show of strength.
Meanwhile, NATO has warned that Russia is massing nuclear-capable missiles along with 30,000 troops in Belarus.
Jens Stoltenberg, NATO general secretary, said earlier this week that Russia has already deployed thousands of troops including Spetsnaz special forces, along with Iskander missiles that can be tipped with nukes, fighter jets, and S-400 anti-aircraft systems.
As war fears mounted, Ukrainian authorities launched a series of drills for civilians to prepare for a possible Russian invasion
In recent months, Russia has conducted a series of joint drills with Belarus and repeatedly sent its nuclear-capable long-range bombers to patrol the skies over its neighbour, which borders Nato members Poland, Lithuania and Latvia. (Above, a Russian soldier taking part in a military exercise on Saturday)
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