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Russia wants to invade Ukraine by February

State Department, US State Department, Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin, NATO, Moscow

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Russia wants to invade Ukraine by February

State Department officials are predicting that Russian forces will invade neighboring Ukraine by mid-February after Moscow rejected the latest US security demands. Writes Jon Dougherty

Saying that such an action will have “enormous consequences worldwide,” President Biden himself warned on Wednesday: “This would be the largest … invasion since World War II. It would change the world.”

Currently, Russia has around 100,000 troops deployed along its border with Ukraine. Troops have been in place for weeks, leading U.S. and NATO officials scrambling to engage President Vladimir Putin while similarly shoring up alliance security and reassuring allies.

That said, the top US diplomat in Ukraine, Kristina A. Kvien, said that Ukrainian troops are “well equipped” and “ready”.

“Russian soldiers sent to Ukraine at the behest of the Kremlin will face fierce resistance,” she said. “The losses to Russia will be heavy”.

Nevertheless, “a US State Department official claimed that intelligence shows ‘every indication’ Russia will use military force in Ukraine by mid-February”, Fox News reported.

“An unnamed US official first told Fox News on Jan. 14 that Russia had started to prepare for a ‘false-flag operation’ in eastern Ukraine, which would provide the pretext for an invasion,” the report continued. “The official said that preparations would take several weeks, meaning that any invasion would likely begin by mid-February at the latest”.

Becker News adds:

The Pentagon has put 8,500 U.S. military personnel on “prepare to deploy orders,” while U.S. commanders say they could redeploy some of the 64,000 troops permanently stationed in Europe at a moment’s notice.

The United States and its NATO allies have delivered its demands to Moscow in the form of a letter, but Russia’s foreign minister says that the nation received no “positive response”.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in a press conference on Wednesday did not divulge the details of the diplomatic letter, but noted that although it was [the] beginning of serious talks, it did not address Russia’s main concerns.

“I think that the content of the answer will become known to the general public in the very near future,” Lavrov said. “As for the content of the document, there is a reaction there that suggests the beginning of a serious conversation, but on secondary topics. There is no positive response to the main issue in this document”.

“The main issue is our clear position on the inadmissibility of NATO’s further expansion to the East and the deployment of offensive weapons that could threaten the Russian Federation,” he added.

Separately, Reuters reported that Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Moscow did not see much room for negotiation after Washington rejected the Putin government’s main security concerns, though he did say both sides continue to seek new dialogue.

“Based on what our colleagues said yesterday, it’s absolutely clear that on the main categories outlined in those draft documents… we cannot say that our thoughts have been taken into account or that a willingness has been shown to take our concerns into account”, Peskov said.

“But we won’t rush with our assessments”, he said.

The newswire noted further:

The United States and NATO said on Wednesday they had delivered the written responses requested by Moscow to proposals it submitted in December.

Among other things, it demanded that NATO halt any further enlargement, bar Ukraine from ever joining and pull back forces and weaponry from eastern European countries that joined it after the Cold War ended.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday that Washington remained committed to upholding NATO’s “open-door” policy and NATO said it would not compromise its core principles.

Both have said, however, they are willing to talk to Russia about arms control, confidence-building measures and limits on the size and scope of military exercises in order to reduce tensions.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said in Denmark he believes that Russia will most likely remain engaged diplomatically with the US and the West for another two weeks. But afterward, it’s fairly certain to many observers barring any breakthroughs that Russia is poised to invade.

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