The Pentagon says Russia continues to pile troops on the border with Ukraine after 62 battalions gathered there this week, and US President Joe Biden, meanwhile, warned his Ukrainian counterpart Vladimir Zelensky last night that there was a “real possibility” of an invasion next month.
–We see a constant accumulation of Russian troops around the border with Ukraine, in Belarus and the movement of the Russian navy in the Mediterranean and Black Seas, as well as in the Atlantic. “All these activities do not worry about Russia’s intentions to attack,” John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesman, told a news conference last night.
He said the United States was still waiting for a Russian response to US documents sent to the Kremlin regarding security guarantees to Moscow in Europe, and that everyone hoped the crisis would be resolved diplomatically.
According to Pentagon officials, there are currently 62 battalion tactical groups in western Russia and around the border with Ukraine, three more than last week. The number does not include the accumulated army in Belarus.
At the briefing, Kirby revealed US bases where 8,500 troops are stationed and on high alert to leave for Eastern Europe as part of a NATO response force.
He also said that the United States was preparing increased “destructive and non-destructive” military aid to Ukraine, but did not give an accurate description of that aid.
In a telephone conversation last night, Biden warned Zelensky of the “real possibility” of a Russian invasion of Ukraine next month, the White House said.
“President Biden has said there is a real possibility of an attack by Russian forces on Ukraine in February,” said Emily Horn, a member of the White House National Security Council. He added that Biden was speaking publicly and “we have been warning about this for several months”.
U.S. intelligence has repeatedly said it did not know whether Russian President Vladimir Putin had abandoned the idea of occupying Ukraine, but said it was “more likely” that the crisis would not be resolved diplomatically.