The risk of a Russian invasion of Ukraine is “very high”, according to US President Joe Biden. “My feeling is that it will happen in the next few days,” he said on Thursday.
Alarmist statements are on the rise. JUntil now, the American president had repeatedly warned against the risk of an invasion, but believed that Vladimir Putin had not yet made his decision.
Before leaving the White House for a trip to Ohio for a few hours, he told reporters that he had “not planned” to call his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.
“All the indications we have is that they are ready to enter Ukraine,” added Joe Biden, while specifying that the diplomatic solution was still on the table.
Washington doubts Russian military withdrawal
Earlier in the day, US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield said “Russia is heading for an imminent invasion” of Ukraine.
US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said that Russia was increasing its military and logistical presence on the Ukrainian border, despite Moscow’s military withdrawal announcements. A concern shared by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Russia responded by once again denying plans to invade Ukraine. But the Kremlin warned that Russia would be “forced to react”, including in a military way, if the United States rejected its demands en bloc (Ukraine’s non-membership of NATO, withdrawal of American troops present in Eastern Europe…)
Thursday was also marked by the expulsion of the number two of the United States Embassy in Russia, Bart Gorman, denounced as “unfounded” by Washington.
At the Ukrainian border, the situation is increasingly tense. In a statement posted on Facebook on Thursday, the Ukrainian army accused pro-Russian separatist fighters in the east of the country of having targeted the town of Stanitsa Luganska with shellfire, in particular hitting a kindergarten.