Here we go again... just days after the White House was forced to awkwardly walk back its prior assessment that a Russian invasion of Ukraine was "imminent" - Biden's national security adviser Jake Sullivan said while making the rounds on Sunday news shows that the invasion will come "any day now" - or even as soon as "tomorrow".
"Fox News Sunday" host Martha MacCallum asked Sullivan about the White House's assessment of Russia's troop build-up, to which he began in response: "Well, what I can tell you Martha is that we are in the window. Any day now, Russia could take military action against Ukraine or it could be a couple of weeks from now or Russia could choose to take the diplomatic path instead."
"The key thing is that the United States needs to be and is prepared for any of those contingencies in lockstep with our allies and partners," Sullivan continued. He further explained that the US had already informed allies of the near-term possibility of war breaking out.
"If war breaks out it will come at an enormous human cost to Ukraine, but we believe that based on our preparations and our response, it will come at a strategic cost to Russia as well," he said.
Elsewhere on Sunday, while speaking to ABC's This Week, Sullivan got even more alarmist in his predictions. He started by repeating that President Vladimir Putin "has put himself in a position with military deployments to be able to act aggressively against Ukraine at any time now." And that's when he said there could be an invasion "tomorrow"...
"We believe that there is a very distinct possibility that Vladimir Putin will order an attack on Ukraine," Sullivan said. "It could take a number of different forms. It could happen as soon as tomorrow or it could take some weeks yet."
The Kremlin rejected the fresh statements and media reports from this weekend predicting Russia will invade soon as "madness and scaremongering."
It was only last Wednesday that the White House walked back its prior consistent assertions that a Russian invasion of Ukraine was "imminent".
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki had explained at the time: "I used it once. I think others have used that once, and we stopped using it because I think it sent a message that we weren't intending to send, which was that we knew that President Putin had made a decision."
❗️Russian invasion of Ukraine no longer “imminent”, says the White House, which had promised a Russian invasion every day for near enough two months— Murad Gazdiev (@MuradGazdiev) February 2, 2022
For a government that missed the Taliban offensive, foretelling a Russian invasion wasn’t going to be easy pic.twitter.com/TjAerpVu7m
“I would say the vast majority of times I've talked about it, I've said he could invade ‘at any time,’" she added, trying to obfuscate her own unambiguous prior messaging.
Sullivan's latest words on the Sunday shows suggests the White House still can't get its own messaging straight. And certainly it's not on board with its own allies like Ukraine, which has lately said the situation is not as dire as the US is painting it.