WASHINGTON – Top US officials said on Monday that a Russian invasion of Ukraine remains imminent amid continued troop movements, propaganda and harsh language from Moscow, suggesting The prospects for a summit between President Biden and President Vladimir V. Putin in the coming days are dim.
Jake Sullivan, Biden’s national security adviser, said on NBC’s “Today Show” that the president was willing to “go further diplomatically,” but added that “every sign we see on the face of The ground right now regarding the disposition of Russian forces is in fact, they are preparing for a major attack on Ukraine”.
Mr. Putin raised tensions on Monday, announcing that he would recognition of two breakaway Ukrainian regions as independent states. Russian media also broadcast claims of attacks by Ukrainian forces, accusations that Ukraine’s military leaders were forced to deny.
American officials have repeatedly predicted that the Russian military will stage fake attacks on its forces as a way to get Putin to go to war.
Mr Biden agreed “in principle” on Sunday to French President Emmanuel Macron’s proposal for a summit with Mr Putin. But many White House officials say such a meeting in the coming days is at best “just an idea,” and would not happen if Russian forces crossed the border into Ukraine.
Two senior administration officials said Monday that there was no change in that mindset overnight, and there was no discussion of the form, time or place for such a discussion. so.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey V. Lavrov also downplayed the immediate prospects for a summit, saying on Monday that “before we meet, especially in such a heated atmosphere, it is important that it is important. is to understand the summits and how this meeting will end.”
For Mr. Biden, the idea of a summit could indicate he is more willing to accept diplomacy than war. But a high-level meeting with Putin is fraught with risks, especially if Russia then launches an invasion. And there is little that Mr. Biden can offer Mr. Putin without appearing to abandon Ukraine or its NATO allies in the process – something the United States has insisted it will not do.
Summit meetings are often well-choreographed events, with outcomes negotiated in advance. So, at best, no meeting between the presidents could happen until Foreign Secretary Antony J. Blinken and Lavrov lay the groundwork in their meeting scheduled for Thursday – if Russia doesn’t start an invasion before that time.
Senior Western officials on Monday said Russian forces around Ukraine are rapidly moving into positions they are ready to strike once ordered. The number of Russian troops surrounding Ukraine also continues to grow, they say, with about 110 tactical battalions, about 1,000 soldiers each.
About two-thirds of them are within 50 kilometers or 31 miles of the Ukrainian border, officials say, and about half of them have been deployed tactically, out of staging areas, ready to attack.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/21/world/europe/us-still-sees-an-invasion-as-imminent-dimming-hopes-for-a-biden-putin-summit.html The US still sees an invasion as imminent, dimming hopes of a Biden-Putin summit.