Biden Tells Ukraine to 'Prepare for Impact' as Russian Invasion Looms
Ukrainian official reveals call between Biden and President Zelensky did not go well
Democrat Joe Biden reportedly told Ukraine to "prepare for impact" during a call with President Volodymyr Zelensky as a Russian invasion of the country now seems imminent.
A senior Ukrainian government official reportedly told CNN national security correspondent Alexander Marquardt that the phone call between the two leaders did not go well.
Marquardt tweeted that Biden told Zelensky that a major invasion by Russia is now all but certain.
"Kyiv could be ‘sacked,’ Russian forces may attempt to occupy it, ‘prepare for impact’, Biden said, according to this official,” Marquardt tweeted.
A Russian invasion is now virtually certain once the ground freezes, Biden said to Zelensky, a senior Ukrainian official told @mchancecnn. Kyiv could be “sacked," Russian forces may attempt to occupy it, “prepare for impact”, Biden said, according to this official.— Alexander Marquardt (@MarquardtA) January 27, 2022
The White House published a readout of the call and said Biden “underscored the commitment of the United States to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
"President Biden reaffirmed the readiness of the United States along with its allies and partners to respond decisively if Russia further invades Ukraine,” the White House said.
Biden told Zelensky there is a “distinct possibility” that Russia could soon invade Ukraine, White House National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne said, according to The Washington Post.
"He has said this publicly and we have been warning about this for months,” Horne added.
The U.S. Defense Department said Thursday that even more Russian forces have amassed around the border with Ukraine.
"We continue to see, including in the last 24 hours, more accumulation of credible combat forces arrayed by the Russians in, again, the western part of their country and in Belarus,” said Pentagon press secretary John Kirby, according to CNN.
The Biden administration has 8,500 troops ready to be sent to NATO allies in Europe, the Post reported.
Russia indicated on Thursday that it would not short-circuit diplomacy, according to The New York Times.
Dmitri Peskov, a spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, said there was “not much cause for optimism” that NATO and the U.S. would agree to Putin’s demands to essentially back off Eastern Europe.
A Russian invasion of Ukraine would be met with sanctions, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said
"I want to be very clear — nothing is off of the table,” von der Leyen said, according to CNN.
"You should not forget that the European Union is the biggest trading partner to Russia,” she added.
"The European Union is also the biggest foreign investor in Russia.
"Seventy-five percent of the foreign direct investment is coming from the European Union, and so these figures tell you that we have a strong leverage, and it would be very painful for Russia in the case that they increase this aggression against Ukraine.”