Last updated on February 13, 2022
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky demanded Saturday that the United States and other allies share intel on a potential Russian invasion of his country that may be days away.
“If you have additional, 100 percent-certain information about a Russian invasion of Ukraine, please share it with us. I cannot agree or disagree with what hasn’t happened yet. Right now there is no full-scale invasion of Ukraine,” Zelensky said in a press conference Saturday, according to a reporter for The Telegraph.
Zelenskiy in a live broadcast on the US intel:
“If you have additional, 100 percent-certain information about a Russian invasion of Ukraine, please share it with us. I cannot agree or disagree with what hasn’t happened yet. Right now there is no full-scale invasion of Ukraine."
— Nataliya Vasilyeva (@Nat_Vasilyeva) February 12, 2022
Over the past week, Zelensky has worked to tamp down panic building in Ukraine of a Russian invasion.
“We understand all the risks. We understand that the risks are there,” Zelensky said, according to The Times Of Israel. “Right now, the people’s biggest enemy is panic in our country. And all this information is only provoking panic and not helping us.”
The Russian military has surrounded Ukraine from Crimea in the south to Belarus in the north. The United States told Americans still in the country on Friday to get out within the next 48 hours or the U.S. military would not attempt to evacuate them if Ukraine and Russia erupted in open conflict.
Zelensky, facing the looming Russian military on three sides, has sought to calm fears of a Russian onslaught to keep Ukraine’s economy moving and downplay Ukraine’s reliance on the West. Zelensky believes that Russian President Vladimir Putin will not actually order an invasion of Ukraine, despite the military posturing, sources told The Wall Street Journal.
“He wants to project determination and calm because the threat the Russians are posing is also having an effect on the economy,” former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor told WSJ. “On the other hand, he has to project calm, determination and resolve to Putin to stare him down.”
Biden has taken a military response to a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine off the table. Instead, White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said on Friday that the United States would work with allies in Europe and elsewhere to put “severe economic sanctions” on Russia.
“[The joint response] would also include changes to NATO and American force posture along the eastern flank of NATO, and it would include continued support to Ukraine,” Sullivan said.
At the same time, Sullivan warned Americans still in Ukraine to get out while commercial options for travel are still available. He warned that the Russian invasion could be imminent.
“We don’t know exactly what is going to happen, but the risk is now high enough, the threat is now immediate enough that this is what prudence demands. If you stay, you are assuming risk with no guarantee that there will be any other opportunity to leave and no prospect of a U.S. military evacuation in the event of a Russian invasion,” Sullivan said.
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