Fri. May 27th, 2022

The White House on Tuesday began referring to Russian troop deployments in eastern Ukraine as an “invasion” after initially hesitating to use the term — a red line that President Joe Biden has said would result in the U.S. levying severe sanctions against Moscow.

(apnews.com)

Several European leaders said earlier in the day that Russian troops have moved into rebel-held areas in eastern Ukraine after Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recognized their independence — but some indicated it was not yet the long-feared, full-fledged invasion.

Later, the White House signaled a shift in its own position.

“We think this is, yes, the beginning of an invasion, Russia’s latest invasion into Ukraine,” said Jon Finer, principal deputy national security adviser. “An invasion is an invasion and that is what is underway.”

The White House decided to begin referring to Russia’s actions as an “invasion” because of the situation on the ground, according to a U.S. official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

The administration resisted initially calling the deployment of troops because the White House wanted to see what Russia was actually going to do. After assessing Russian troop movements, it became clear it was a new invasion, the official added.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki also alluded to the Russian action as being an invasion in a twitter post commenting on Germany chancellor Olaf Scholz decision to halt the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline in response to Russia’s actions.

The U.S. president “made clear that if Russia invaded Ukraine, we would action would act with Germany to ensure Nord Stream 2 does not move forward,” Psaki said.

For weeks, Western powers have been bracing for an invasion as Russia massed an estimated 150,000 troops on three sides of neighboring Ukraine. They warned an attack would cause massive casualties, energy shortages in Europe and economic chaos around the globe — and promised swift and severe sanctions if it materialized. The European Union and Britain announced Tuesday that some of those measures were coming.

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