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Russia may invade Ukraine 'at any moment' with 'false' pretext: White House


Nepalnews
2022 Feb 17, 11:37, Washington

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Wednesday (local time) said that the window for a Russian invasion of Ukraine remains open.

During a briefing, Psaki said that the window for a potential Russian attack on Ukraine remains open and warned a fabricated pretext for an incursion could include reports like the one about mass graves in the Donbas region, reported CNN.

"We are in the window where we believe an attack could begin at any time," said Psaki.

She said the US was not taking Russian claims of de-escalation at face value.

"There's what Russia says and what Russia does," Psaki said. Russian troops "remain amassed in a threatening way on the border."

Asked by CNN what a "meaningful de-escalation" would look like, Psaki did not provide specifics.

"We will know it when we see it," she said, noting the US was seeking a "verifiable reduction of troops on the border with Ukraine" but not laying out metrics.

She repeated White House warnings of "false flag" events meant to create the pretext for an invasion and said "everyone should keep eyes open" for fake videos or reports emerging on Russian media.

Asked about a cyberattack in Ukraine that took down some government websites, Psaki said she didn't have details on attribution for who was responsible.

She said making such a determination was difficult because adversaries work to "hide their tracks" in cyberspace.

An apparent cyberattack hit Ukraine's defense ministry and armed forces, and two Ukrainian banks on Tuesday. It was not immediately clear who was responsible.

Psaki also said that the "door continues to be open for diplomacy," though said Russian responses to US security concerns hadn't yet been received in Washington.

"I think we are still waiting for that," she said.

US President Joe Biden has also said there was still "plenty of room for diplomacy" with Russia to avoid a conflict in Europe.

Russia earlier said that it is withdrawing some troops following drills around Ukraine has been met with skepticism from Western leaders who have called for proof, with the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken saying they haven't seen "meaningful pullback" of Russian forces.

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White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki USA russia Ukraine diplomacy invasion war conflict Western leaders Kyiv Putin
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