Continuing the narrative that Russia is planning to invade Ukraine, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan claimed on Thursday that the threat of a Russian invasion is "high" after days of talks between Western powers and Moscow.
"There is no illusions on the part of any of us who have been dealing with this issue about what the prospects are for potential conflict and potential military escalation by Russia," Sullivan said.
Russia has repeatedly denied that it is planning to invade Ukraine and insists that its military movements in the region are a response to increased US and NATO activity. During talks this week, the US and NATO rejected Russia’s demands for NATO to halt its eastward expansion.
Following a meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) that included Russia, the US ambassador to the OSCE also warned of war in Europe. "We’re facing a crisis in European security. The drumbeat of war is sounding loud, and the rhetoric has gotten rather shrill," Ambassador Michael Carpenter told reporters.
Sullivan said the Western talks with Russia this week were "frank and direct" and that the US would now consult with allies on how to proceed. The Kremlin described the meetings as "unsuccessful" and said the two sides were far apart on key issues.
Sullivan said there has yet to be an agreement between the US and Russia on more meetings. But in Moscow, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said dialogue between the two powers was always happening at some level. "I must reiterate that dialogue is still underway at many levels and in many directions," he said.
Also on Thursday, Moscow warned against a piece of legislation introduced Wednesday by Senate Democrats that would pave the way for sanctions on Russian President Vladimir Putin and other Russian officials. "We view the appearance of such documents and statements extremely negatively against the background of an ongoing series of negotiations, albeit unsuccessful ones," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
While no progress was made concerning Ukraine during this week’s flurry of diplomacy, the two sides did agree to eventually hold more talks on arms control and missile deployments.