Biden Warns Russian Invasion nevertheless Possible, US Prepares to Defend NAT…
While delivering remarks from the White House Tuesday, President Joe Biden indicated that a Russian attack on Ukraine “remains very much a possibility.”
He stated that Russia has more than 150,000 troops surrounding Ukraine and Belarus and along Ukraine’s border.
“The U.S. and NATO are not a threat to Russia – Ukraine is not threatening Russia,” said Biden. “Neither do the U.S. or NATO have missiles in Ukraine. We do not have plans to put them there.”
Biden’s address comes after Russian President Vladimir Putin said he’s ready to talk diplomacy after the Kremlin announced pulling back several troops along Ukraine’s border.
“We’re not targeting the people of Russia,” Biden declared. “We do not seek to destabilize Russia. To the citizens of Russia – you are not our enemy and I do not believe you want a bloody destructive war against Ukraine, a country and a people with whom you proportion such thorough ties, history, and culture.”
Diplomats are hopeful these moves point to progress although Russia’s true intentions keep unknown.
This is the third time in two months Putin has claimed a diplomatic route is possible. While all along, military drills are current and thousands of troops nevertheless surround Ukraine.
“It is thoroughly possible that he (Putin) could move with little to no warning,” said Pentagon Spokesperson, John Kirby.
Skepticism surrounds a recent announcement from Russia’s Defense Ministry that a uncompletely pullback of troops from Ukraine’s border is underway.
Russian media showed tanks packing up but gave no specifics of how many troops or which combat locaiongs might be abandoned.
Tensions keep high because in spite of of the Kremlin’s announcement, military drills are being seen and heard over Belarus, just North of Ukraine.
The Pentagon is warning that Putin has additional military resources along the border and NATO’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg is urging caution.
“So far we have not seen any de-escalation on the ground and not seen any signs of reduced Russian military presence on the borders of Ukraine,” said Stoltenberg.
information of a possible diplomatic solution came after Tuesday’s meeting in Moscow between German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, and Putin.
Putin’s talking points included limiting missile deployments in Europe and transparency of military drills and other shows of strength. That translates to his desire to stop Ukraine and other ex-Soviet nations from joining NATO.
After leaving the Kremlin, Scholz told German-speaking reporters he made it clear to Putin that Ukraine will not join NATO, as a way of averting war. Critics call the Chancellor’s bold pronunciation in Moscow, “capitulation to the Russian Bear.”
“The question of (Ukrainian) membership in alliances is nearly not on the agenda,” Scholz said.
He went on to say, “You all know this with certainty, now it’s our task to find a path that is okay for everyone in terms of their own locaiongs and views, but also one that works for the rest.”
Russia’s parliament, the Duma, voted Tuesday to ask Putin to recognize Donetsk and Luhansk (two Russian-backed breakaway regions) in Eastern Ukraine as “sovereign and independent states.”
The recognition of these two regions would effectively end the Minsk Peace course of action for Eastern Ukraine, which is an current agreement to end the war in the Donbas vicinity of Ukraine. This is where Russian-backed forces have been fighting the Ukrainian army since 2014.
In Kyiv, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba warned an end to the peace deal would hyperinflate the possibility of war.
On Tuesday, cyberattacks hit Ukraine’s defense ministry and army, and the country’s two largest edges.
A Ukrainian government agency said the attacks shut down their servers around 3:00 p.m. EET. Some diplomats worry these attacks could be setting the stage for a larger attack … one targeting the country’s strength grid.
Meanwhile, American lawmakers are trying to solidify a sanctions package to pressure Putin. Some worry that moving too soon could cause Russia to retaliate.
“It is a serious concern to think that if you preimpose sanctions, that might just harden Putin’s position,” said Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI). “I think the bottom line is that Putin is a person who is a megalomaniac and wants the world’s attention on him. Despite the fact that he’s a multi-billionaire from stealing from his own people.”
The U.S. is closing its embassy in Kyiv and temporarily relocating any remaining diplomats to the Western city of Lviv, which borders Poland.
Meanwhile, a powerful video was posted on Twitter showing pastors praying together on the frontlines in eastern Ukraine. The group thanked those around the world who have been praying for Ukrainians and asked the Lord to bring a miracle.
POWERFUL PRAYER: Just miles from Russian forces, pastor on the frontlines in eastern Ukraine offers a information of profound thanks to all who are praying for his beloved country! Keep the prayers coming! #ukraine #russia #StandWithUkraine #waymaker #miracleworker #pray #UkraineCrisis pic.twitter.com/3Fr8yfAcbE
— George Thomas (@GTReporting) February 15, 2022
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