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The White House says the U.S. assessment of the Russia Ukraine crisis has not changed, and it continues to believe a Russian invasion of Ukraine “remains imminent.”
Watch Psaki’s remarks in the player above.
Speaking at the briefing Tuesday, press secretary Jen Psaki underscored that assessment, saying, “imminent has a pretty intense meaning.”
The comments come as Ukraine’s leaders sought Ukraine’s leaders sought to reassure their nation that an invasion from neighboring Russia was not impending, even as they acknowledged the threat is real and received a shipment of U.S. military equipment to shore up their defenses.
Asked by reporters about the discrepancy, Psaki said, “No one can get into the mind of President Putin or Russian leadership.”
READ MORE: Ukraine leaders urge calm, say Russian invasion not imminent
But she said, “what we have seen is a range of preparations, including a hundred thousand troops at the border, bellicose rhetoric and actions, as we’ve talked about in here, including false flag operations, to try to spread misinformation throughout the region and even the world, setting up the predicate for an invasion.”
Moscow has denied it is planning an assault, but it has massed an estimated 100,000 troops near Ukraine in recent weeks and is holding military drills at multiple locations in Russia. That has led the United States and its NATO allies to rush to prepare for a possible war.
Several rounds of high stakes diplomacy have failed to yield any breakthroughs, and tensions escalated further this week. NATO said it was bolstering its deterrence in the Baltic Sea region, and the U.S. ordered 8,500 troops on higher alert for potential deployment to Europe as part of an alliance “response force” if necessary.
Psaki said the U.S. troop alert is meant to “plus up support in our eastern flank countries,” adding, “That is what NATO is there for.”
She maintained there is “no intention or interest or desire by the president to send troops to Ukraine.”
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