US officials fear Russian invasion of Ukraine soon, lawmakers split on when to pass sanctions
WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Despite phone calls and public and private warnings from the United States and its allies, Russian President Vladimir Putin appears unmoved.
“They could launch a military action basically at any time,” National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said.
Sullivan told CBS’s Face the Nation that Russian military buildup on Ukraine’s border continues, while the United States and its allies continue to prepare for the worst.
“We will defend every square inch of NATO territory, every square inch of Article 5 territory, and we think Russia fully understands that message,” Sullivan said.
On Sunday morning, President Biden spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
The White House said the two leaders agreed “…to pursue diplomacy and deterrence in response to Russia’s military buildup.”
Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby told Fox News on Sunday that the United States remains hopeful of a peaceful outcome.
“We still believe there is a way to defuse the tensions here, to find a peaceful way out of this,” Kirby said.
Capitol Hill lawmakers are divided on whether to punish Russia with economic sanctions now or wait for the Russians to attack Ukraine.
On ABC’s This Week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) defended the president’s decisions to suspend sanctions until Russia acts.
“There are very serious consequences to his aggression and we are united in using them,” Pelosi said.
But Sen. Lindsey Graham (RS.C.) thinks Congress needs to pull the sanctions trigger now.
“…Pre-invasion with a waiver, post-invasion sanctions that would destroy the ruble and cripple the Russian economy,” Graham said.
Lawmakers and administration officials continue to urge Americans in Ukraine to leave that country now.