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Russia may invade Ukraine next month, Biden says

The Russian invasion of Ukraine may happen sooner than expected

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Soldiers close to Lviv, western Ukraine.

Soldiers take part in an exercise for the use of NLAW anti-aircraft missiles on the Yavoriv military training ground, close to Lviv, western Ukraine, Friday, Jan. 28, 2022.

Pavlo Palamarchuk, Associated Press

Russia may end up invading Ukraine sometime in February, President Joe Biden recently predicted.

The news: President Biden spoke with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy Thursday about Russia’s buildup on the border of Ukraine.

  • “President Biden made clear that despite the departure of American family members of embassy personnel, the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, remains open and fully operational,” the White House readout of the call between the presidents said, per CBS News.
  • “The leaders discussed coordinated diplomatic efforts on European security, underscoring the principle of ‘nothing about Ukraine without Ukraine.’”

Yes, but: Zelenskyy said a Russian threat is “dangerous but ambiguous,” and it’s unclear if Russia will actually invade Ukraine, CNN reports.

  • One Ukraine official told CNN that the call ”did not go well” as Zelenskyy and Biden disagreed over the threat level.

What they’re saying: “President Biden said that there is a distinct possibility that the Russians could invade Ukraine in February,” White House National Security Council spokesperson Emily Horne said, per BBC News.

  • “He has said this publicly and we have been warning about this for months.”

State of play: The United States recently rejected Russia’s demand to keep Ukraine out of NATO as tension rises between Russia and Ukraine.

  • Blinken said he gave Russia “a serious diplomatic path forward, should Russia choose it.”
  • Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said President Vladimir Putin would consider the U.S. response, but would not rush to a decision on what to do next, according to CNN
  • Russia has amassed more than 100,000 troops on the Ukraine border.

What’s next: Lavrov recently threatened that Russia would “retaliate” if its demands were not eventually met, but the decision would ultimately be made by Putin, according to The Washington Post.

  • In a recent call with French President Emmanuel Macron, Putin called for “lasting, legally binding security guarantees” from the U.S. and NATO.
  • Those demands include asking NATO to remove military equipment from Soviet and Warsaw Pact countries and to not deploy missiles near Russia’s borders, The Washington Post reports.