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Biden’s call with Ukrainian President a Disaster? claims CNN, but White House disputes account

A call between US President Joe Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday “did not go well,” a senior Ukrainian official told CNN, amid disagreements about the “risk levels” of the Russian attack.
The White House, however, has disputed the official’s account, warning that anonymous sources “leak lies.” They said Biden had warned Zelensky that an impending attack was “possible.”
In a phone call, a Ukrainian official described as “long and straightforward,” Biden warned his Ukrainian counterpart that a Russian offensive might be imminent, saying the attack was certain, if the ground was already frozen later in February, according to the report. officer.

Zelensky, however, stressed that the threat from Russia remains “dangerous but confusing,” and it is uncertain whether the attack will take place, the official said.

National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne has denied the allegations in a statement issued Friday stating “Similar, baseless allegations concerning Ukraine’s intelligence have been made more than once. “Anonymous sources ‘leak’ lies,” he told CNN. “President Biden has said there is a good chance that the Russians will invade Ukraine in February. This is a public statement and we have been warning for months. Reports of anything else or something different are completely false.”
Negative dialogue between the two leaders comes as the US and NATO continue to look for opportunities to attack Russia. While emphasizing the need for dialogue, the White House has warned of an impending attack on tens of thousands of Russian troops gathered at the Ukrainian border.
The call lasted an hour and 20 minutes on Thursday, according to a U.S. national security official, highlighting issues that two leaders had to discuss during the Russian military operation. The official described the phone as “long and delicate,” but “productive,” as Biden and Zelensky discuss recent Russian violence.
Biden told Zelensky that U.S. officials had assessed whether the attack was possible in February, but did not say whether it would happen, the official said.

The White House says Biden has promised that the US will “respond strongly” if Russia attacks

A White House reading of the call said Biden “reaffirmed” to Zelensky that the United States “would respond strongly if Russia continued to invade Ukraine.” Biden also said the US would explore “additional major economic support” to help the Ukrainian economy through the deployment of Russian troops.
“President Biden noted that the United States has provided Ukraine with more than half a billion dollars in development and humanitarian aid over the past year, and looks for additional economic support to help the Ukrainian economy amid the pressure caused by the Russian military,” the White House said. said in a lesson.
Zelensky’s spokesman also disputed the Ukrainian official’s interpretation of the call. Zelensky wrote on Twitter that he and Biden had a long call when they “discussed the latest communications efforts on the decline and agreed on joint plans for the future.” The Ukrainian president thanked Biden for his ongoing military assistance and said that “opportunities for financial support in Ukraine were also discussed.”
Ukraine’s top official, however, told CNN that Biden said Ukraine would not be provided with further military assistance.
Zelensky urged his American counterpart to “lower the message,” warning of the impact of the economic crisis, according to the official. He also said that Ukrainian intelligence sees the threat differently.
The Ukrainian leader pointed to recent successes in talks with Russia in Paris, saying he hoped a ceasefire agreement with rebels in eastern Ukraine would be kept. He also said that talks between the US, Russia and NATO would continue some distance before the end of the communications effort, the official said.
Earlier in the day, another source from the US side said there was a recognition in the White House that Zelensky had “too many spectators” and was trying to measure. “On the other hand he needs help, but he has to reassure his people that the situation is in control. That is a deceptive balance,” the source said.


The Pentagon says Russia’s construction is underway

The deployment of Russian troops on the Ukrainian border has increased in the last 24 hours, the Pentagon said on Thursday, with the United States awaiting a response from Russian President Vladimir Putin to its proposals in Moscow on Wednesday.
“We are still seeing, including in the last 24 hours, an increase in the number of loyal Russian troops, and, in the western part of their country and in Belarus,” Pentagon correspondent John Kirby told a news conference.
Kirby described the make-up as “not strange” but “and not sclerotic.”
The US remains hopeful that Russia’s communications efforts could lead to a downturn. On Wednesday, the US and NATO submitted separate correspondence responses to Russia’s public concerns, which is a view expressed by Moscow. Although the United States has not disclosed the contents of the document, Secretary-General Antony Blinken told reporters Wednesday that it does not justify NATO’s “open door policy”, leaving the US in opposition to Russia’s strong demand for NATO to never compromise. Ukraine.
Putin has read responses from the US and NATO, a Kremlin spokesman said on Thursday, but Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said they had failed to resolve Russia’s problems.
“There is no positive reaction to the main issue in this article,” Lavrov told reporters in Moscow. “The main issue is our clear position on whether to allow the continued expansion of NATO in the East and the deployment of striking weapons that could threaten the territory of the Russian Federation.”

Blinken said on Thursday “he has heard various responses from various Russian people in the paper we shared with them, as well as the paper NATO shared with them.”
“But the most important answer is President Putin’s response, and in our understanding, according to the Russians, these papers are on his desk,” he said in an interview with Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty.
“And we will look forward to his response, which I am sure will be conveyed through Foreign Minister Lavrov and others in the coming days. That is the most important thing,” he said.
On Thursday evening, the US ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, called for a UN Security Council meeting on the issue to be held on Monday.
U.S. officials continued to insist that they were willing to take action whether Russia pursued diplomacy or continued the atrocities against Ukraine, and on Thursday, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said “there is nothing off the table” when it comes to sanctions in Moscow. attack – which included killing the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany and removing Russia from the SWIFT international payment system.
“The commission is responsible for designing, modeling and developing sanctions,” von der Leyen told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour. “We have made it clear that if there is a Russian aggression or military offensive against Ukraine, there will be serious consequences, and serious consequences for Russia.”

The Pentagon describes soldiers in high alert

Earlier this week, up to 8,500 XNUMX U.S. troops were deployed to prepare for deployment in Eastern Europe. Those troops include parts of 82 airports in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and parts of 18th Airborne Corps, 101st Airborne Division and Fourth Infantry Division, Kirby said Thursday.
These units include “medical support, aviation support, material support” and “military construction,” a Pentagon spokesman said.
Within Europe, Kirby said the US General Command’s commander-in-chief, General Tod Wolters, was “taking reasonable steps” to ensure that US troops stationed in Europe could be deployed on the continent if necessary.
The Pentagon was “not cutting” the possibility that European forces could be moved “to help strengthen the capabilities of NATO allies,” Kirby said.
Sources reported, Wednesday that the US and a number of allies are in talks to send thousands of troops to NATO in Eastern Europe ahead of any possible Russian attack on Ukraine as a show of support in the face of ongoing Moscow violence, according to three known US officials. through negotiations.

Among the countries considering processing receipts are Romania, Bulgaria, and Hungary. The deployment will account for about 1,000 personnel in each country and will be similar to the current warships in the Baltic States and Poland.
“We take our NATO commitments very seriously. And we will consult with our partners as we have in the coming days. And if there are ways we can help strengthen their capacity to support their defense, we will look into that,” Kirby said.


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