White House press secretary Jen Psaki warned Tuesday that Russia-Ukraine tensions have reached a point where “Russia could, at any point, launch an attack.”
The State Department confirmed earlier Tuesday that Secretary of State Antony Blinken is traveling to Ukraine and will also meet with Russia Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Friday in Geneva. Psaki said Blinken “will urge Russia to take immediate steps to de-escalate” and issued perhaps the starkest warning yet regarding the growing tensions.
“But where things stand right now, President [Vladimir] Putin has created this crisis by amassing 100,000 Russian troops along Ukraine’s borders,” Psaki said during the press briefing. “This includes moving Russian forces into Belarus recently for joint exercises and conducting additional exercises on Ukraine’s eastern border.”
“So, let’s be clear: Our view is this is an extremely dangerous situation,” she added. “We’re now at a stage where Russia could, at any point, launch an attack in Ukraine. And what Secretary Blinken is going to go do is highlight very clearly: There is a diplomatic path forward. It is the choice of President Putin and the Russians to make, whether they are going to suffer severe economic consequences or not.”
Despite the stark warning, the U.S. has not fully determined whether Putin has solid plans to invade Ukraine. President Joe Biden’s talks with the Russian president, made in an effort to help de-escalate tensions, appear to have yielded no solid results. (RELATED: Biden To Threaten Putin With ‘Significant And Severe Economic Harm’ If Russia Invades Ukraine)
State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement that Blinken’s trip and upcoming meeting “follows extensive diplomacy with our European Allies and partners about a united approach to address the threat Russia poses to Ukraine and our joint efforts to encourage it to choose diplomacy and de-escalation in the interests of security and stability.”