WASHINGTON - The White House believes Russia could launch an invasion of Ukraine at any moment, press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday, warning that an extremely dangerous situation is building along the Ukrainian border.
We believe that Russia could launch an attack on Ukraine at any point in the future. I would say that's more stark than we have been, Psaki said during her daily press briefing.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken is in Ukraine this week to meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. On Tuesday morning, Blinken spoke with Russia's foreign minister, and the two plan to meet in Geneva, where he will urge Russia to take immediate steps to de-escalate, Psaki said.
The U.S. and Russia held talks this month that didn't resolve the standoff between the two countries after Russia amassed more than 100,000 troops along the Ukrainian border. The U.S. warned Russia of the economic consequences if it invades Ukraine, including crippling economic sanctions.
Secretary Blinken is going to highlight very clearly that there's a diplomatic path forward, Psaki said. It is the choice of President Putin and the Russians to decide whether they are going to suffer severe economic consequences or not. On Friday, the administration revealed that the Russian government is planning a false flag operation to rationalize an invasion of Ukraine. A government official said Russia had already positioned a group of operatives to conduct a false flag operation in eastern Ukraine.
In our view, no option is off the table, according to Psaki. We continue to consult with European counterparts on the serious consequences for Russia if it invades Ukraine. Ukraine was hit with a massive cyberattack last week that killed more than 70 government websites. National security adviser Jake Sullivan told CBS News on Sunday that the U.S. was still working to determine who was behind the attack, but that this is part of the Russian playbook. If Russia is pummeling Ukraine with cyberattacks over the period ahead, we will work with our allies on the appropriate response, he said.
He said that while the U.S. is still open to a diplomatic resolution, we're ready to go either way. If Russia wants to go down the path of invasion and escalation, we're ready for that, with a robust response that will cut off their strategic position, he said.