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President BidenJoe BidenSenate Passes Resolution Supporting Ukraine Amid Invasion Fears Overnight Energy & Environment – Greens Target Texas Democrat Over Oil Ties On The Money – Congress Avoids Government Shutdown MORE said on Friday he was confident that Russia would invade Ukraine, which could happen “in the next few days”.
We’ll dive deep into his speech, as well as a potential $6 billion arms sale to Poland.
For The Hill, I’m Jordan Williams. Send advice to [email protected].
Biden ‘convinced’ of Russian invasion
President Biden said Friday he was confident Russia would invade Ukraine, which could happen “in the next few days” as the world continues to prepare for a possible military incursion.
The president’s speech comes after several officials in his administration sounded the alarm over Moscow’s military buildup near the Ukrainian border. Despite this, the White House had refrained from saying categorically that the Kremlin would invade.
Biden held a call earlier Friday with European and Canadian leaders to discuss the lingering threat of a Russian invasion. Vice President Harris is due to meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at the Munich Security Conference in Germany on Saturday.
What Biden said: “From this moment on, I’m confident that he made the decision. We have reason to believe that,” Biden told reporters at the White House after giving an update on the threat of a Russian invasion.
“You are convinced that President Putin is going to invade Ukraine. Is that what you just said a few moments ago?” a reporter asked moments later.
“Yes, I did,” Biden said, adding that diplomacy was still on the table if Moscow chose to defuse.
What is happening? In his speech, Biden said Washington had seen reports of a “major increase” in ceasefire violations by Russian-backed rebels in Ukraine, noting the shelling of a garden building in Ukraine. children Thursday.
He also said that the United States continues to see disinformation spread to the Russian public, including allegations of genocide, and that Ukraine plans to launch a massive attack in Donbass.
The president said these actions are “in line with the playbook the Russians have used before to set up a false justification for acting against Ukraine.”
“It also fits a pretense scenario that the United States and our allies and partners have been warning about for weeks,” he said.
Continued support for Ukraine: The president reiterated that no US troops will fight in Ukraine, but will continue to support Kiev.
He noted that the United States had provided $650 million in defensive aid to Ukraine, $500 million in humanitarian aid and economic support, and earlier this week announced a sovereign loan guarantee of up to $1 billion.
“The bottom line is this: The United States and our allies and partners will support the people of Ukraine. We will hold Russia accountable for its actions,” he said.
How many soldiers now? Ambassador Michael Carpenter, US envoy to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, said on Friday the OSCE had found evidence that between 169,000 and 190,000 troops were currently along the border. Ukrainian.
This number includes troops counted in Belarus and Crimea, as well as the Russian National Guard and Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine.
“Colleagues, this is the largest military mobilization in Europe since World War II,” Carpenter said.
Learn more about the Russian-Ukrainian conflict:
Poland to buy $6 billion worth of tanks from the United States
The United States has given preliminary approval for a $6 billion sale of battle tanks and other equipment to Poland as the United States continues to build NATO defense capabilities along the flank is of the covenant.
Speaking to Polish journalists on Friday, Defense Secretary Lloyd AustinLloyd AustinOvernight Defense & National Security — The Russian-Ukrainian conflict reaches a climax Arrival of the last American troops in Poland said the procurement “will help ensure a fairer sharing of responsibility within the alliance for our common defence.”
Austin said the delivery time for the tanks is still under discussion.
About weapons: According to a press release from the Security and Defense Cooperation Agency, the Polish government has requested 250 M1A2 Abrams main battle tanks.
Abrams tanks are a low-profile, full-tracked ground combat assault weapon that comes with a 1,500 horsepower turbine engine, 120mm main gun and special armor, according to the Acquisition Support Center of the Army.
Austin said the country was getting “the most modern version” of the Abrams tank, adding that they would provide Poland with “very advanced tank capability”.
“It will also enhance our interoperability with the Polish Armed Forces, enhancing the credibility of our combined deterrence efforts and those of other NATO allies,” Austin said.
Additionally, the sale includes 26 Hercules Combat Recovery Vehicles, 276 M2 .50 caliber machine guns and 500 M240C 7.62mm machine guns, among other equipment.
Cooperation with Poland: The sale comes as the United States and Poland work closely on security cooperation amid fears that Russia could invade Ukraine – an event that NATO says would trigger a unified response. of the covenant.
The United States sent a total of 4,700 troops stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, to Poland to help secure the alliance.
Austin said on Friday the troops were ready to respond to a “range of contingencies,” adding that they would work with the Polish government “should it be necessary to help American citizens exit Ukraine.”
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House GOP criticizes Biden’s response to Afghanistan inquiry
On Friday, Republicans on the House Foreign Affairs Committee criticized President Biden for recently dismissing accounts the military gave of the chaotic U.S. evacuation from Afghanistan.
In a letter to Biden, ranking committee member Rep. Michael McCaulMichael Thomas McCaulMcCaul says he disagrees with RNC resolution if it applies to violent rioters Sunday preview shows: US deploys troops and briefs lawmakers amid tensions between Russia and Ukraine House Democrats attempt to balance China’s competitiveness bill MORE (R-Texas) and 18 of his colleagues called it “appalling” that Biden and the White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiSenate Judiciary Chairman wants Supreme Court pick upheld in early April White House won’t say when Biden will interview Supreme Court nominees As February 16 passes, the Biden administration has lobbied information about the Russian invasion MORE would dismiss the accounts, which were detailed in an army investigation into an Islamic State bombing outside Abbey Gate at Kabul International Airport that killed 13 US servicemen.
Last week, when asked by NBC’s Lester Holt about the report, Biden said the report didn’t match his impression of the pullout. When asked if he rejects the report’s accounts or conclusions, Biden replied, “Yes, I am.”
What the Republicans said: “These interviews make it abundantly clear that, despite your attempts to deny it, your administration has not taken the necessary steps to effectively prepare for the withdrawal or to respond realistically to the meteoric Taliban advance through Afghanistan.” , reads the letter.
“As such, the American people deserve to know why your White House has dismissed these first-hand accounts and asserted that no official after-action report on the withdrawal exists, as Ms. Psaki reiterated on February 11. “, he continued.
What was the report: The 2,000-page report, which was made public after a Freedom of Information Act request from the Washington Post, included commanders on the ground suggesting the administration was not fully aware of the threat on the ground.
The review also detailed confusion over State Department priorities for who to evacuate from Afghanistan, as well as ever-changing messages about who may leave.
An after-action review of the withdrawal included in the Abbey Gate report identified, among other things, issues of delays in the withdrawal of U.S. embassy staff in Kabul and a lack of consensus on what would trigger such a move. evacuation.
Read the full story here.
WHAT WE READ
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