Russian Invasion of Ukraine Could Be “Any Day Now”: White House national security advisor Jake Sullivan, in speaking to Fox News Sunday (see video below) stated that a Russian invasion could be fast approaching.
“We are in the window,” Sullivan said during the interview” “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.”
This comes a day after Washington officials had stated that Moscow had amassed about 70 percent of the combat power that they would require for a full-fledged invasion.
“If war breaks out, it will come at an enormous human cost to Ukraine, but we believe that based on our preparations and our response, it will come at a strategic cost to Russia as well,” Sullivan added.
Russia Keeps Sending More Troops Closer to Ukraine
Reuters reported on Friday that the number of tactical combat battalions had risen from 60 to 83 in the border region and that 14 more were on the move to forward positions along the border.
Satellite imagery from Maxar Technologies showed a Russian military base at Yelnya, southeast of the city of Smolensk and some 160 miles from the Ukrainian border that they moved about 700 tanks, armored vehicles, and ballistic missiles to in 2021 have been emptied and moved closer to the border.
Russia’s strategic nuclear forces normally hold an annual readiness exercise in the fall, that has been rescheduled for mid-February to March, which is the time frame that most US officials believe that the invasion would take place.
The Plot Thickens
Last week, Washington uncovered an elaborate plot where the Russians were going to attempt to create a false pretext for an invasion by releasing a graphic video showing explosions supposedly committed by Ukrainian soldiers against Russian-speaking civilians. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said Russian actors would portray the civilians.
Sullivan said that Putin “has put himself in a position with military deployments to be able to act aggressively against Ukraine at any time now.”
Also on Sunday morning, Sullivan, who was making the rounds of early morning talk shows appeared on “Meet the Press” and said, “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.”
He said that Russian intentions could range from annexing Ukraine’s Donbas region, where Moscow has fomented an insurgency since 2014, cyberattacks, or a full-scale invasion.
“Part of the reason we’ve been working so intensively over the last few months is not just to prepare for one contingency but to prepare for all contingencies and to work with our allies and partners on what a response would look like in each of those instances,” Sullivan said.
US Troops Move Closer to Russia
Over the weekend the first US troops from the 82nd Airborne Division and the 18th Airborne Corps began arriving in Poland as President Biden ordered the deployment of 2,000 troops from Ft. Bragg, NC to beef up NATO forces that are based on the borders with Ukraine. Another 1,000 troops from a Stryker battalion in Germany were repositioned in Romania, which also borders Ukraine.
There is an additional 8,500 troops on high alert for deployment to Eastern Europe in the case of a Russian invasion. However the administration has frequently said that US forces will not fight in Ukraine.
Steve Balestrieri is a 1945 National Security Columnist. He has served as a US Special Forces NCO and Warrant Officer before injuries forced his early separation. In addition to writing for 1945, he covers the NFL for PatsFans.com and his work was regularly featured in the Millbury-Sutton Chronicle and Grafton News newspapers in Massachusetts.