US President Joe Biden had a telephone conversation with his Ukrainian counterpart, Vladimir Zelensky, on Thursday. Shortly after the call, CNN reported, citing a senior Ukrainian official, that the US president told Zelensky that “the Russian invasion is now certain,” news that has already been denied by both Kiev and Washington.
According to the CNN source, who provided this information on condition of anonymity, the conversation between the two presidents “did not go well” and there was a disagreement about “the level of risk” of attack facing Ukraine.
The official said that, in Zelensky’s opinion, the threat is “ambiguous” and there is a possibility that there will be no invasion. In this regard, Biden, according to the source, stated that the invasion is “practically certain later, in February, when the ground is more frozen.” At the same time, “Kiev could be looted,” while Russian forces may “try to occupy it.”
Ukraine and the US deny the reports
Hours later, Ukraine’s presidential spokesman, Sergei Nikiforov, denied the reports.
“Correct information can only be found in the official publications of the Ukrainian and American sides,” wrote Nikiforov on his Facebook page. “Everything else is guesswork and speculation. In this turbulent time, We ask that you treat each piece of information as responsibly as possible and publish only carefully verified data.“, he reiterated.
The information was also denied by Washington. Emily Horne, spokeswoman for the White House National Security Council, declared that “this is not true”. “President Biden said there is a distinct possibility that the Russians could invade Ukraine in February. He has said this publicly before and we have been warning about this for months. Reports of something else or [algo] other than this are completely false,” he said.
CNN released the information just days after he mentioned in a report the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv as part of Russia. The chain showed this Tuesday some images of a Russian military team taken during exercises carried out in its territory, while the label in the corner shows that the recording was made in “Kharkov, Russia”.
Kiev denied the threat of invasion, but Washington insists that it persists
Speculation about a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine has intensified in the West after several media outlets published alleged plans for the operation in November. For its part, Russia repeatedly dismissed as false and unfounded the accusations that it was preparing an alleged provocation in Ukraine.
Over the past week, the Ukrainian authorities have repeatedly stated that they do not see any threat of attack from Russia. This Monday, Ukraine’s Defense Minister Alexei Reznikov stated that information from the Ukrainian Intelligence Service and its partners indicates that Russia did not deploy any assault group showing his intention to carry out an offensive the next day.
Meanwhile, Washington insists that the threat of a Russian invasion remains. Thus, the spokeswoman for the White House, Jen Psaki, declared on Tuesday that Washington observed “aggressive actions and preparations” for an attack on the border between the two countries. In turn, the US Undersecretary of State, Wendy Sherman, declared this Wednesday that Washington sees “all indications” that Russia plans to use its Armed Forces against Ukraine by mid-February.