© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A service member of the Ukrainian armed forces walks in a trench at combat positions near the line of separation from Russian-backed rebels outside the settlement of Zaitseve in the Donetsk region, Ukraine February 5, 2022. REUTERS/Oleksandr K
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Russia could invade Ukraine within days or weeks but could still opt for a diplomatic path, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said on Sunday.
“We are in the window. Any day now, Russia could take military action against Ukraine, or it could be a couple of weeks from now, or Russia could choose to take the diplomatic path instead,” Sullivan told the “Fox News Sunday” program.
Sullivan made the comments in television interviews after two U.S. officials on Saturday said Russia has in place about 70% of the combat power https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/russian-forces-70-level-needed-full-ukraine-invasion-us-officials-2022-02-05 it believes it would need for a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
Any possible Russian action could include annexing Ukraine’s Donbass region, where Russian-backed separatists broke away from Ukrainian government control in 2014, cyberattacks or a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Sullivan added, saying Russia could act as soon as on Monday though it could also be weeks.
“We believe that there is a very distinct possibility that Vladimir Putin will order an attack on Ukraine,” he told ABC’s “This Week” program.
“It could take a number of different forms. It could happen as soon as tomorrow, or it could take some weeks yet. He has put himself in a position with military deployments to be able to act aggressively against Ukraine at any time now,” Sullivan added.
As Russia masses more than 100,000 troops near the border, Moscow has said it is not planning an invasion but could take unspecified military action if its security demands are not met.
Those include a promise that NATO will never admit Ukraine, a demand the United States and NATO have called unacceptable.
Asked if a Russian invasion was likely, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield told CNN in an interview: “We’re still working to discourage the Russians from making the wrong choice of choosing confrontation.”
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