The U.S. considers supplying Ukraine with additional weapons because it fears that Russia may invade

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As Ukraine begins to publicly warn that the invasion may occur as early as January, discussions on the proposed deadly aid package are underway. According to sources, the plan may include new javelin anti-tank and anti-armor missiles and mortars.

Air defense systems, such as Stinger missiles, are also under consideration, and the Ministry of Defense has been urging some equipment that would have been shipped to Afghanistan, such as Mi-17 helicopters, to be sent to Ukraine instead. The Mi-17 is a Russian helicopter that the United States originally purchased to give to the Afghans. After the United States withdrew from Afghanistan in August, the Pentagon is now weighing how to deal with them.

But others in the government worry that the dispatch of stinger and helicopters may be seen as a major upgrade by Russia. People familiar with the matter said that although they plan to send some military advisers to the region, it is not clear whether anyone will enter Ukraine itself.

Retired lieutenant colonel Cedric Leighton told CNN that the Javelin anti-tank missile was “very effective against the T-80 tanks actually used by the Russians in these efforts to combat Ukraine.” Any additional assistance will undoubtedly run the risk of “further intensifying tensions” with Moscow.

Sanctions discussion

Sources said that at the same time, US officials have been discussing with European allies to formulate a new sanctions plan, if Russia invades Ukraine, the plan will take effect. Legislators are also seeking to incorporate new sanctions language into the National Defense Authorization Act.

When asked about Russia’s military activities, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Monday that the government expressed concern about this and “has conducted extensive interactions with our European allies and partners in recent weeks, including interactions with Ukraine. She added that the United States “also had discussions with Russian officials on Ukraine and US-Russian relations.” General Mark Milli, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, also had a phone call with the commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Lieutenant General Valery Zaluzhny.

These discussions reflect the importance of the Biden administration and Congress to the possibility that Russia may invade the U.S. strategic ally Ukraine for the second time in ten years. US officials are determined not to be caught off guard by Russia’s military actions, because the Obama administration in 2014 Russia invaded Crimea and launched a rebellion in parts of eastern Ukraine.

Secretary of State Anthony said: “We are worried that Russia may have made serious mistakes and tried to repeat the mistakes of 2014, when it assembled troops at the border, entered Ukrainian sovereign territory, and falsely claimed to be provoked.” Brinken said last week.

As Russia builds an army near Ukraine, the United States fights intelligence blind spots

In a statement on Monday, Russia’s foreign intelligence agency, SVR, refuted US warnings about possible invasion, saying the warnings were “completely false”.

SVR News Agency Director Sergei Ivanov said: “The U.S. State Department provides its allies and partners through diplomatic channels with absolutely false information about the concentration of troops on our territory for a military invasion of Ukraine.”

For several weeks, the United States has been sharing intelligence with NATO partners and European allies about abnormal Russian military movements near the Ukrainian border. US military and intelligence officials believe this may be a precursor to military operations on the country’s east flank. Sources familiar with the discussion in the United States, Europe and Ukraine said that in terms of alertness and particularity, the briefing will go further than in the past.

The tone of Ukraine after hearing the US briefing has also undergone major changes. Earlier this month, Ukrainian officials downplayed reports of Russian troops gathering near the border. Now, after extensive talks between U.S. and Ukrainian officials, Brig, the head of the Ukrainian Defense Intelligence Agency. General Kerilo Budanov publicly warned that Russia will begin to build offensive capabilities as early as January-this timetable is consistent with the assessment of the United States.

‘No smoking’

However, officials said that Russia’s final plan is still unclear. A defense official said: “There is no evidence of Putin’s intentions, and no decisive signs.” And these exercises may be to spread chaos or force the West to make concessions, rather than a precursor to invasion.

But the United States is still warning about the possibility of the worst-case scenario, that is, Moscow is trying to carry out a regime change in Kiev. This is mainly due to Putin’s determination to prevent Ukraine from drawing closer relations with the West and possibly joining NATO.

Blinken said the United States is worried that Russia may “try to repeat the mistakes” it invaded Ukraine in 2014

A person familiar with intelligence said: “You cannot achieve this goal by opening up another piece of land in the eastern part of Donetsk.” “It must be more important than that. If that is [Putin’s] Goal, then you won’t do this by doing little things. ”

U.S. officials also shared evidence with senior Ukrainian officials that Russia was engaged in destabilizing activities in Ukraine through the Russian Federal Security Service, the successor to the Russian KGB, in order to incitement against Ukrainian President Volodmir Zelensky. Dissent from the government. They also pointed out the presence of Spetsnaz special forces and GRU and SVR intelligence personnel near the Ukrainian border.

According to the Ukrainian military assessment provided to the “Military Times”, Ukrainian defense officials expect that Russia can use dozens of tactical teams currently stationed near the Ukrainian border to launch attacks from multiple parties, including from the annexed Crimea. Asia launched an attack.

US officials are closely monitoring Russia’s activities in Crimea, and Russia sent troops and military units in the spring as part of its alleged exercises. According to Ukrainian assessments and sources familiar with the matter, although the Russian Ministry of Defense ordered at least part of the troops to withdraw in April, there are still some personnel.

Movement of Congress

At the same time, Democratic and Republican legislators have proposed amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act of 2022 to address Russia’s latest provocations, but the final version has not yet been signed.

CNN reviewed an amendment proposed by Bob Menendez, chairman of the Senate’s Foreign Relations, stating that if Russia’s military escalates, President Joe Biden should deal with the Kremlin’s senior officials, including Russian President Vladimir Putin. Officials “imposed a large number of new sanctions” against Ukraine. The amendment also calls for additional sanctions on the Russian gas pipeline Nord Stream 2, which Ukraine has been promoting.

The Director of the Central Intelligence Agency had a rare conversation with Putin in Moscow last week

Sources said that Republicans on the committee believe that the Northbrook sanctions wording is a positive step, but hope that the amendment will automatically trigger sanctions when Russia invades, rather than handing the decision to the government.

Germany, which has been working on pipeline projects with Russia, recently announced that it will temporarily suspend pipeline certification procedures. But Ukraine also wants to see the United States take more measures to block the pipeline. Ukraine said Russia is weakening Ukraine by cutting off energy supplies and entering winter income, a Zelensky consultant told CNN .

“Although the Biden administration warned Russia of invading Ukraine, its most senior officials tried to lobby against the inclusion of sanctions in the annual national defense bill to protect Russia’s North Stream 2 pipeline on Capitol Hill,” the consultant said.

CNN’s Oren Liebermann reported.

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