Following an unprecedented sharing of US intelligence with EU and NATO, the allies have swung behind Joe Biden‘s assessment that Russia is prepared to invade Ukraine. In an upcoming video summit with Mr Putin, the US president will warn him against an invasion. Mr Biden will reportedly have the full backing of NATO and the EU for retaliatory measures.
Earlier this week, an official from the Biden administration warned that Russia could be planning an invasion of Ukraine “as soon as early 2022”, the Financial Times reported.
The official also noted that half the military units that would be necessary for an offensive of that nature had arrived near Ukraine’s border over the past month.
The unprecedented level of intelligence sharing by the US stems from Washington’s hope that – by building strong western support for sanctions – it would drive home to Moscow the costs of any aggression.
They began sharing the details in early November, in advance of a NATO meeting last week.
It was prompted by an initial reluctance from some European allies to believe that Russia was truly preparing for an invasion, four of the officials who spoke to the Financial Times said.
The Kremlin has consistently denied that it plans to invade Ukraine, blaming the increasing hostility instead on US and NATO’s support for Kiev.
One official described the intelligence shared with the allies as “extremely comprehensive”.
A second noted a “gap” in intelligence between the US and the other nations.
President Biden is currently preparing a package of sanctions to deter a Russian invasion.
Speaking on Friday, he said: “We’re aware of Russia’s actions for a long time and my expectation is we’re going to have a long discussion with Putin.”
Referencing the Russian leader’s warning that deployment of western weapons or troops represented a “red line”, he added: “I don’t accept anybody’s red lines.”
The US warned that the Kremlin has prepared to deploy 100 battalion tactical groups of roughly 175,000 military personnel.
Earlier this week, German news outlet BILD, which spoke to high-ranking military sources, revealed that the attack might take place in three phases, giving Putin the opportunity to reassess the invasion if the Western reaction is sufficient.
On Wednesday US Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned that Russian plans ranged from “efforts to destabilise Ukraine from within to large-scale military operations”.