investing.com/news/world-news/us-concerned-russia-prepping-for-ukraine-invasion-if-diplomacy-failsofficial-2739375

By Steve Holland

WASHINGTON -The United States is concerned that Russia is preparing for an invasion of Ukraine soon by fabricating a pretext for war if diplomacy fails to meet its objectives, the White House said on Friday.

Talks between the United States, its European allies and Russia ended in a stalemate this week with no current plans to meet again about Russia's deployment of tens of thousands of troops along Ukraine's border. A cyber attack against Ukraine has further inflamed tensions.

A spokesperson for the White House National Security Council said it was not yet clear who was responsible for the cyber attack but that President Joe Biden had been briefed on it.

"We are in touch with the Ukrainians and have offered our support as Ukraine investigates the impact and nature and recovers from the incidents. We don’t have an attribution at this time," the spokesperson said.

Biden has warned of severe economic consequences for Russia if Russian President Vladimir Putin launches an invasion of Ukraine. Russia denies plans to attack Ukraine and has demanded NATO stop its eastward expansion and agree to legally binding security guarantees, demands that the United States and NATO have rejected.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters the United States is concerned the Russian government "is preparing for an invasion into Ukraine that may result in widespread human rights violations and war crimes should diplomacy fail to meet their objectives."

"As part of its plans, Russia is laying the groundwork to have the option of fabricating a pretext for invasion, including through sabotage activities and information operations, by accusing Ukraine of preparing an imminent attack against Russian forces in eastern Ukraine," Psaki said.

The Russian military "plans to begin these activities several weeks before a military invasion, which could begin between mid-January and mid-February," she...

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