Now that the White House has announced that a Russian invasion of Ukraine is not only almost certainly coming but imminent, what more is there to be done? Quite a bit, as it turns out. President Joe Biden will be hopping back on the phone and dialing up Vladimir Putin today for yet another discussion of the subject. Putin also has a call with French President Emmanuel Macron on his to-do list for Saturday. But what is it that they plan to discuss? Putin continues to insist that he has no plans of invading anyone and it’s Biden that’s trying to “goad Russia into a war.” Macron is still busy trying to cook up some offers to tempt Putin into not doing what he still claims he has no intention of doing. Something here has to give. (NY Post)
President Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin will speak by phone Saturday as US officials warn that Russia may launch an invasion of Ukraine within days.
A White House official told The Post “they will be speaking Saturday morning. Russia proposed a call Monday. We counter-proposed Saturday, and they accepted.”
Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan said Friday at the daily White House press briefing that US citizens should leave the Eastern European country within “24 to 48 hours.”
Putin’s next scheduled meeting (that we know of) is on Tuesday when German Chancellor Olaf Scholz travels to Moscow for a chat. Scholz is in a dicey position at the moment. He just held a joint presser with Biden where the American president declared that if Russia invades Ukraine, that will be the end of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. Scholz refused to even say the words “Nord Stream 2” during the press conference, likely because the entire purpose of the pipeline is to pump badly needed fuel directly from Russia to Germany.
Meanwhile, despite recently promising that no American troops would set foot in Ukraine for fear of starting a new world war, Biden is sending thousands of additional troops into Poland this weekend. Not coincidentally, Poland shares a border with Ukraine and is a likely destination for many Americans if they flee from Kyiv.
The Pentagon announced Friday it is sending 3,000 more troops from the 82nd Airborne Division to Poland to bolster the NATO ally as fears grow that a Russian invasion of Ukraine could take place at any time.
A senior defense official confirmed that members of the division’s infantry brigade combat team will ship out from Fort Bragg in North Carolina over the weekend and be in place by early next week.
That addition will bring us up to nearly 5,000 troops in Poland, amassing near the Ukrainian border. That’s a pretty significant amount of boots on the ground for a country that’s promising it won’t send anyone over the border to stop the Russians. In fact, Biden refuted his own Defense Department officials by saying that they wouldn’t even go in to save fleeing Americans. So why are there so many troops required? Is the American president preparing to insinuate that Putin won’t stop with Ukraine but plans on rolling through into Poland as well?
We still haven’t reached the point of no return with any of these maneuvers on either side, but we’re getting close. As of this morning, the State Department ordered the evacuation of most of our people from the embassy in Kyiv. They plan to suspend consular services at the embassy tomorrow. At the same time, Russia turned around this morning and announced that it was evacuating most of its people from its embassy in Kyiv also. That’s either a tit-for-tat diplomatic move (as often happens) or a signal they really do plan for Ukraine’s capital to turn into a war zone shortly.
Unfortunately for the west, time is on Vladimir Putin’s side, at least for the moment. He can keep everyone hanging and continue to make demands of NATO until he either gets some sort of concessions or runs out of patience. At the present moment, he has all of the western and NATO leaders dancing to his tune, which he’s probably enjoying immensely. The one thing I’m fairly sure of, however, is that if Putin concludes some large military exercises inside of his own borders this week and then just sends his troops back to their permanent home bases, Joe Biden and our intelligence agencies are going to come off looking like a bunch of paranoid idiots.
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