ALL NEWS

Biden: ‘Every indication’ Russia prepared to attack Ukraine

Feb 17, 2022, 7:47 AM | Updated: 7:52 am
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is pictured, he'll visit with biden...
In this handout photo provided by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Office, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy greets Ukrainian coast guards in Mariupol, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, Thursday, Feb. 17, 2022. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)
(Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — President Joe Biden said Thursday that there is a “very high” risk of a Russian invasion of Ukraine and that could happen within “several days.”

Speaking at the White House, Biden said the United States saw no signs of a claimed Russian withdrawal of forces along its border with Ukraine. He said the U.S. has “reason to believe” that Russia is “engaged in a false flag operation to have an excuse to go in.”

He told reporters in Washington: “Every indication we have is they’re prepared to go into Ukraine, attack Ukraine.”

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — A U.S. Embassy spokesman told a Russian news agency Thursday that Russia has expelled the deputy chief of of the U.S. mission in Moscow.

No details were given of why Bart Gorman was expelled. The State Department confirmed the expulsion, calling it unprovoked.

The move comes amid heightened tensions between Russia and the U.S., fueled by fears that Moscow plans to invade Ukraine.

Spokesman Jason Rebholz told the state RIA Novosti news agency that Gorman was second in command in the U.S. Embassy in Moscow and had an open visa. He spent less than three years in Moscow, the report said.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — NATO allies accused Russia on Thursday of misleading the world with “disinformation” by saying it was returning some troops to bases, charging that Moscow has instead added as many as 7,000 more troops near its tense border with Ukraine.

Tensions also spiked Thursday along the line that separates Ukrainian forces from Russia-backed separatists in the country’s east, with the parties accusing each other of intensive shelling. Western fears resurged that Russia is planning to invade Ukraine, after weeks of East-West tensions that have threatened Europe’s post-Cold War balance of power.

The U.S. and its NATO partners said they had seen no sign yet of Russia’s promised troop withdrawal.

“We’ve seen some of those troops inch closer to that border. We see them fly in more combat and support aircraft,” U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said at NATO headquarters in Brussels. “We see them sharpen their readiness in the Black Sea. We even see them stocking up their blood supplies. You don’t do these sort of things for no reason, and you certainly don’t do them if you’re getting ready to pack up and go home.”

Russia held out an offer of diplomacy, handing the U.S. a response Thursday to offers to engage in talks on limiting missile deployments in Europe, restrictions on military drills and other confidence-building measures.

As U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken headed to New York for the U.N. Security Council meeting and then Germany for the Munich Security Conference, Russia delivered its long-awaited responses to U.S. proposals on Ukraine and broader European security. A senior State Department official said the Russians had presented its response to U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan in Moscow.

Positive signals from Moscow lowered the temperature in the crisis earlier in the week but the heat was back up Thursday, where Western powers estimating Russia has 150,000-plus troops massed outside Ukraine’s borders.

“We have seen the opposite of some of the statements. We have seen an increase of troops over the last 48 hours, up to 7,000,” said British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace ahead of a meeting Thursday of the western alliance in Brussels.

That squared with what a U.S. administration official said a day earlier. The top EU official said similar.

British Armed Forces Minister James Heappey even called Russia’s claim to be withdrawing troops “disinformation.” Russia accuses the West of the same.

Russia has “enough troops, enough capabilities, to launch a full-fledged invasion of Ukraine with very little or no warning time,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said. “The fact that you’re putting a battle tank on a train and moving it in some direction doesn’t prove a withdrawal of troops.”

While no attack materialized Wednesday as some had feared, Western officials warned the threat of invasion remains high and vowed to counter it.

“The consequences of this mass buildup – nearly 60% of Russia’s land combat forces on the border of a sovereign nation – will get you the opposite effect,” Wallace said.

“We are deadly serious,” he added, “and we’re going to face the threat that is currently being posed.”

Moscow said several times this week that some forces are pulling back to their bases, but it gave few details that would allow for an independent assessment of the scope and direction of the troop movement.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj.-Gen. Igor Konashenkov offered a bit more detail Thursday, saying that Russian tank and infantry units that took part in drills in the Kursk and Bryansk regions neighboring Ukraine were pulling back to their permanent bases in Nizhny Novgorod region. He said that some of those units already had arrived at their bases after a 700-kilometer journey east.

Troops deployed for exercises in Crimea, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014, have moved back to Chechnya and Dagestan in Russia’s North Caucasus, he noted. He also said Russian troops involved in drills Belarus will also move back to their garrisons after war games there wrap up on Sunday.

Konashenkov didn’t mention the numbers of troops that were deployed and didn’t say how many of them returned.

NATO, meanwhile, has moved troops and military equipment into Eastern Europe in a display of resolve of meant to deter any Russian aggression and underline its intent to defend NATO’s eastern members, in the unlikely event that they too become a target.

The U.S. has started deploying 5,000 troops to Poland and Romania. Another 8,500 are on standby, and some U.S. troops are expected to move toward Bulgaria. Britain is sending hundreds of soldiers to Poland, offering more warships and planes, and doubling its personnel in Estonia. Germany, the Netherlands and Norway are sending additional troops to Lithuania. Denmark and Spain are providing jets for air policing in the Baltic Sea region.

Even if an attack doesn’t materialize, the sustained Russian pressure on Ukraine has further hobbled its shaky economy and left an entire nation under constant strain — a situation that could last indefinitely.

Ukraine already has been the stage of fighting for eight years, and tensions soared again Thursday in the conflict in the country’s east, where Russian-backed separatists have been fighting Ukrainian troops since 2014.

Separatist authorities in the Luhansk region reported an increase in Ukrainian shelling along the tense line of contact, describing it as a “large-scale provocation.” Separatist official Rodion Miroshnik said rebel forces returned fire.

Ukraine disputed the claim, saying that separatists had shelled its forces, but they didn’t fire back. The Ukrainian military command charged that shells hit a kindergarten building in Stanytsia Luhanska, wounding two civilians, and cut power supply to half of the town.

An observer mission of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe is expected to offer its assessment of the situation later Thursday.

Ukrainain President Volodymyr Zelenskyy tweeted that “the shelling of a kindergarten in Stanytsia Luhanska by pro-Russian forces is a big provocation,” adding that the OSCE monitoring activities are “an additional deterrent.”

Asked about the flare-up of hostilities in the east, Stoltenberg said the alliance was concerned “that Russia is trying to stage a pretext for an armed attack against Ukraine.”

Russia, in turn, aired worries that hawkish forces in Ukraine, encouraged by the West, could launch an attack to reclaim control of the rebel areas — plans Ukrainian authorities deny.

A 2015 deal brokered by France and Germany helped end the worst of the fighting in eastern Ukraine, but regular skirmishes have continued and a political settlement has stalled.

The U.N. Security Council is scheduled to hold its annual meeting on the agreement on Thursday.

Russia denies it is plotting an invasion but says it’s free to deploy troops wherever necessary to counter threats from NATO. It wants the West to keep Ukraine and other former Soviet nations out of NATO, halt weapons deployments near Russian borders and roll back forces from Eastern Europe, the demands the allis have flatly rejected.

There have been some suggestions Ukraine could decide to abandon its hope of joining NATO — something written into its constitution — as a way out of the crisis. It’s not clear how or if it would do that.

While the U.S. and its allies have rejected Moscow’s demands to bar membership to Ukraine, they offered to engage in talks with Russia on limiting missile deployments in Europe, restrictions on military drills and other confidence-building measures.

Russian President Vladimir Putin charged that Moscow had offered to discuss those issues years ago, but the West only agreed to talk about them now. He said that Russia was ready to talk about them now, but only in conjunction with its main security demands.

Even as Russia seemed to try to ease tensions this week, Maxar Technologies, a commercial satellite imagery company that has been monitoring the Russian buildup, reported continued heightened military activity near Ukraine. It noted a new pontoon bridge and a new field hospital in Belarus. It also said that some forces had left an airfield in the country, a Russian ally, but it was unclear where they went.

Blinken and U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris were among political, military and diplomatic leaders heading to the annual security conference in Munich that will see urgent consultations on the crisis.
___
Isachenkov reported from Moscow and Cook from Brussels. Matthew Lee in Munich, Angela Charlton in Paris, Jill Lawless in London, Edith M. Lederer at the United Nations, Frank Jordans in Berlin, and Aamer Madhani, Ellen Knickmeyer, Colleen Long and Zeke Miller in Washington contributed.
___
More AP coverage of the Ukraine crisis: https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

All News

Police arrested a man in Washington County on suspicion of human trafficking a child on Thursday. ...
HUGO RIKARD-BELL, MARK JACKSON

UHP arrests man suspected of trafficking New England teen

Court documents show that the UHP pulled over Tevon Jarrell Cullors-Tillman after his car was spotted driving erratically.
9 hours ago
Follow @SimoneSeikaly...
Simone Seikaly

Elk herd again on the move near Foothill Drive and Parley’s Canyon

Drivers near Foothill Drive and Parley's Canyon were warned to remain vigilant as officials worked to move the herd.
9 hours ago
A high altitude balloon floats over Billings, Mont., on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. The U.S. is tracki...
Oren Liebermann, Haley Britzky and Michael Conte, CNN

Pentagon tracking suspected Chinese spy balloon over the US

(CNN) — The US is tracking a suspected Chinese high-altitude surveillance balloon over the continental United States, defense officials said on Thursday, a discovery that risks adding further strain to tense US-China relations. Pentagon spokesman Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder said the US government has been tracking the balloon for several days as it made its way over […]
9 hours ago
quit their jobs...
PAUL WISEMAN AP Economics Writer

US added a strong 517,000 jobs in January despite Fed hikes

The Fed is aiming to achieve a "soft landing" — a pullback in the economy that is enough to tame high inflation without triggering recession.
9 hours ago
A federal law that prohibits people subject to domestic violence restraining orders from possessing...
Tierney Sneed, CNN

Law barring people with domestic violence restraining orders from having guns is unconstitutional, court rules

 (CNN) — A federal law that prohibits people subject to domestic violence restraining orders from possessing firearms is unconstitutional, a conservative-leaning appeals court ruled Thursday. The ruling is the latest significant decision dismantling a gun restriction in the wake of the Supreme Court’s expansion of Second Amendment rights last year in the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. […]
9 hours ago
Mountain America Credit Union will pick 
 up the tab for the adoption of all larger dogs this weeke...
Mark Jackson

Credit union picking up tab this weekend for adoption of larger dogs

Mountain America Credit Union will pick up the fees for the adoption of all larger dogs from Friday, Feb. 3 through Sunday, Feb. 5.
9 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...
Macey's

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
Biden: ‘Every indication’ Russia prepared to attack Ukraine