White House comments on chances of war with Russia
President Joe Biden has no plans to deploy American troops to fight Russians in Ukraine, the White House said, doubling down on previous assertions by US officials that Washington won’t go to war with Moscow.
“That is not a decision the president is going to make. We are not going to be in a war with Russia or putting military troops on the ground fighting Russia,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Wednesday.
When repeatedly grilled by a reporter if there is a chance that US military boots would land on Ukrainian soil if Russia moves to claim “all” of Kiev’s territory, Psaki reiterated: “I don’t know how many more times I can say it. There is no scenario – the president is not sending US troops to fight in Ukraine against Russia.”
Speaking about the situation following Russia’s decision to recognize breakaway republics in Donbass, Psaki again referred to a possibility of an “imminent” invasion of Ukraine.
“We have been saying for days that Russian military forces are in an attack position,” and are “capable of operationalizing at any point in time,” she said.
Her comments come after the Biden administration moved to slap a raft of sanctions on dozens of Russian financial firms, subsidiaries and individuals on Tuesday, as well as impose additional restrictions on Americans’ ability to do business in the newly recognized Donetsk and Lugansk republics. While Biden has already ordered several thousand soldiers into Europe amid the spike in tensions, some US troops were redeployed closer to Russia’s borders on Tuesday – with an unspecified number shifted into the Baltic states of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.
In addition to recognizing the breakaway Donetsk and Lugansk republics as sovereign nations, the Russian parliament authorized President Vladimir Putin to send soldiers into the region for a peacekeeping mission, to end the years-long military conflict between separatist forces in the Donbass and the Ukrainian government.
While Washington initially refrained from dubbing the move an “invasion,” officials have since shifted in rhetoric, now warning Moscow not to engage in any “further” incursion into Ukraine.
Warning of harsher financial penalties, the White House spokeswoman said if Moscow “goes further, we go further,” adding that the administration is prepared to impose “serious costs” on the Russian economy should Putin take additional action, and that US allies would follow suit.