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Tipsheet

White House Claims Ukraine 'Downplaying Risk of Invasion'

AP Photo/Andriy Dubchak

There are more conflicting reports between Ukraine and the United States when it comes to a potentially upcoming Russian invasion. The White House is now claiming that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is "downplaying" such a risk. 

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As Kyle Morris posted for Fox News live updates, "We understand the difficult position President Zelensky is in and the pressure he’s under," a White House official said. "But at the same time he’s downplaying the risk of invasion, he’s asking for hundreds of millions of dollars in weapons to defend against one. We think it’s important to be open and candid about that threat."

The New York Times provided similar coverage. "Russia Is Positioned to Invade All of Ukraine, U.S. Says, but Kyiv Downplays War Talk," a headline read. 

Such coverage highlighted statements from Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and General Mark Miley:

Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III described a bristling array of Russian combined arms formations, artillery and rockets assembled at the Ukrainian border, which he said “far and away exceeds what we would typically see them do for exercises.”

Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was more blunt: “I think you’d have to go back quite a while to the Cold War days to see something of this magnitude.”

Their comments came at a news conference at the Pentagon that was dominated by the unfolding crisis in Ukraine. Both men presented a grim picture of the situation, and Defense Department officials have privately warned that a Russian invasion has the potential to start a conflict between Moscow and the West that could quickly escalate. 

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Mr. Austin did not rule out the possibility that U.S. troops might be sent to Ukraine to evacuate Americans if Russia invades and there is combat in the streets of Kyiv. But that is exactly the type of situation that officials fear could lead to the escalation that Pentagon leaders want to avoid.

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Such coverage also points out that, since Ukraine is not a NATO member, the United States does not have a treaty obligation to defend the nation. Kurt has also covered in a column why sending troops to Ukraine would be disastrous. 

Some are pointing out what they see as the Biden administration and Democrats being hungry for a war with Ukraine.

Fox News' Chad Pergram also tweeted a bizarre comment from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) claimed she took an oath. 

Officials also recently spoke with Reuters and CNN to address how Russia has moved blood supplies to the border, along with medical supplies and other equipment. 

"One of the officials who spoke with CNN cautioned that the presence of Russian blood supplies near the Ukrainian border is not an absolute indicator of an invasion. Instead, it is one element among many the US is monitoring as the build-up of Russian forces steadily proceeds," CNN reported in a piece updated Saturday night. 

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The White House remarks may be something of an attempt of a clap back at Ukraine and Zelensky, whose comments Matt covered yesterday. 

Zelensky explained to reporters on Friday that he has told Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron that the threat from Russia is "imminent and constant" but that Ukrainians have "learned to live with it" since 2014. He also has raised concerns that such a "panic" is harming Ukraine's economy. 

The Biden White House has also been focused on a campaign to target "disinformation" from Russia, as a way to defend Ukraine, Laura Kelly reported for The Hill on Saturday night. 

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