Russia could launch a full-scale attack on Ukraine “any day now,” according to President Biden’s national security adviser who stressed that war would “come at an enormous human cost to Ukraine.”
A Russian invasion could lead to the quick capture of Ukraine’s capital Kyiv and as many as 50,000 casualties, according to reports. A Russian attack would be devastating for Ukraine, and would “come at a strategic cost to Russia as well,” White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said on Sunday.
“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 said on “Fox News Sunday.”
“An invasion of Ukraine could happen at any time,” he said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “We believe that the Russians have put in place the capabilities to mount a significant military operation into Ukraine. And we have been working hard to prepare a response.”
The U.S. has sent troops to Poland near the border with Ukraine following Biden’s orders to deploy 1,700 soldiers there amid fears of a Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Sullivan stressed that the U.S. is sending forces to Europe to defend NATO territory, and that the U.S. is “not sending forces to start a war or fight a war with Russia in Ukraine.” The U.S. has provided material support to Ukraine — or “defensive assistance” of more than $500 million dollars over the last year.
“We have reinforced and reassured our allies on the Eastern Flank, we have united the West, we have provided material support to Ukraine, all of President Biden’s direction, and we’ve also offered Russia a diplomatic path if they choose to take it,” Sullivan said.
“If war breaks out, it will come at an enormous human cost to Ukraine,” he added. “But we believe that based on our preparations and our response, it will come at a strategic cost to Russia as well.”
Russia has assembled at least 70% 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, U.S. officials say.
Officials are warning that a full Russian invasion could lead to the quick capture of Kyiv within 72 hours, and potentially result in as many as 50,000 casualties.
Sullivan was asked about the likelihood that Kyiv could quickly fall.
“My job here is not to predict what exactly will happen day to day,” he responded. “It’s to prepare for any contingency, including a contingency where Russian forces drive on the Ukrainian capital.
“We are working hard with our allies and partners on that, we are providing … material support to the Ukrainians, and trying to get them to make sure they are in the best position possible to defend themselves,” he said.
Sullivan said the U.S. can impose “swift and severe economic consequences” on Russia, as well as “strengthen and fortify our presence on NATO territory and NATO countries and, of course, the global diplomatic isolation that Russia would face should it choose to proceed.”
Texas Republican Congressman Michael McCaul, who’s on the Foreign Affairs Committee, warned that the “noose is being prepared … around Ukraine right now as we speak.”
“These are dangerous times,” McCaul said on ABC News “This Week.” “Time is of the essence. This would be the largest invasion in Europe since World War II.”
Herald wire services were used in this report.
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