Biden Tells Ukraine Russia Could Invade By February. Ukrainian President Disagrees

President Joe Biden on Thursday told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky there is a “distinct possibility” that Russia could invade Ukraine next month, The Associated Press reports.

“President Biden said that there is a distinct possibility that the Russians could invade Ukraine in February,” White House National Security Council spokesperson Emily Horne said. “He has said this publicly and we have been warning about this for months.”

The White House said Biden told Zelensky he was “exploring additional macroeconomic support to help Ukraine’s economy” amid the Russian buildup around the border.

The US and European allies have tried to negotiate with Russia to prevent an invasion but have pushed back on the Kremlin’s demands, which includes a rollback of NATO deployments in eastern Europe and a ban on Ukraine from ever joining the organization.

Russia said the response has left “little ground for optimism” but "there always are prospects for continuing a dialogue, it's in the interests of both us and the Americans."

Zelensky pushes back:

Zelensky during a news conference pushed back on Biden’s assessment, accusing the US and NATO allies of creating a “panic.”

“Do we have tanks on the streets?” he said during a news conference. “No. When you read media, you get the image that we have troops in the city, people fleeing … That’s not the case.”

Zelensky did not rule out an armed conflict but disputed the west’s assertion that an attack was “imminent.”

“I’m the president of Ukraine and I’m based here and I think I know the details better here,” he said.

“If you only look at the satellites, you will see the increase of troops. You can’t assess whether this is a threat, an attack or a simple rotation,” he later added.

Call did not go well:

The call between Biden and Zelensky “did not go well,” a senior administration official told CNN.

The Ukrainian official said the call was “long and frank.”

A White House readout of the call said that Biden reaffirmed that the US would "respond decisively if Russia further invades Ukraine."

"President Biden noted the United States has provided Ukraine with over half a billion dollars in development and humanitarian assistance in the last year, and is exploring additional macroeconomic support to help Ukraine's economy amidst pressure resulting from Russia's military build-up," the White House said in the readout.

 

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