The White House says it will no again use the term “imminent” to characterize a Russian invasion of Ukraine, after officials used it last week.
“I did it once. I guess it’s been used before.
We stopped using it because it seemed to imply that we knew (Russian President Vladimir) Putin had taken a choice “Jen Psaki said during a press conference.
“We’ve always said he may invade at any time,” she continued. “True. We still don’t know his decision.”
The decision to stop using “imminent” occurred after a disagreement between US and Ukrainian officials on how to phrase the Russian danger. President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine has minimized the possibility of imminent war, despite warnings from Biden and his senior advisors.
The disparity triggered some frustrations.
Psaki’s recent claim that an attack was “imminent” enraged Kiev. Officials in Ukraine, including Zelensky, worried the descriptions might trigger panic and economic chaos.
“There is a sense of war abroad. No, “Zelensky said last Friday.
However, he acknowledged the situation’s ambiguity, saying even Putin’s closest advisers may be unaware of his objectives.
Ukrainian authorities warned privately that applying sanctions ahead of a Russian strike would be more effective than warning of coming war.
An adviser to Zelensky said, “Kyiv would find more value in active deterrent measures like immediate sanctions against Nord Stream than persistent verbal warnings predicting imminent war for the last couple months that provide no deterrent and actually unintentionally negatively impact the Ukrainian economy.”
Psaki stated she’d only used the phrase “imminent” once and wouldn’t use it again.
Other American authorities have recently eschewed the word. The US ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, said Tuesday that a Russian invasion of Ukraine isn’t imminent since the US is still seeking a diplomatic exit for Russia. “It is not imminent, because we are still pursuing a diplomatic solution to offer the Russians an exit.
Our hope is that this works and that Putin realizes he does not want to go down the route of conflict and confrontation, but rather one of diplomacy “told NPR.
Despite the shift in rhetoric, there was no sign that Russia was planning to withdraw its 100,000 troops from Ukraine’s border. Putin indicated during his news conference on Tuesday that he was ready to continuing negotiations, but he made no mention of ending them.
Biden, for his part, has sent 3,000 US troops to Eastern Europe to reassure NATO members of US commitment to their security.
Even though both Washington and Moscow favour a diplomatic solution, it was unclear when or where US-Russian officials would resume conversations given security concerns.
Officials claimed Biden’s decision to send soldiers to Europe was not prompted by any recent event.
They said it was the consequence of ongoing discussions with European allies about regional security. They also stated that no troops will be sent into Ukraine to defend it from Russian invasion.
Even sending soldiers to nations not now threatened by Russia will enrage Putin, who has expressed worry about NATO and US forces stationed in former USSR territories.
Following the Pentagon’s announcement of fresh deployments to Poland, Romania, and Germany, the White House dismissed the move as heightening tensions.
“To be clear, there is only one aggressor here. It is Russia “He said.
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