White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said Monday that a Russian invasion of Ukraine would be “extremely violent” and “harm” the country’s citizens.
“We believe that any military operation the size, scope and magnitude of what we believe the Russians are planning will be extremely violent,” Mr. Sullivan said in an appearance on NBC’s “Today” show.
“But we also have intelligence to suggest that there will be an even greater form of brutality because this will not simply be some conventional war between two armies,” he said. “It will be a war waged by Russia on the Ukrainian people to repress them, to crush them, to harm them.”
Mr. Sullivan said the U.S. is still pursuing all diplomatic options to end the Ukraine crisis.
“We’re prepared to respond decisively if Russia moves on Ukraine and we’re prepared for diplomacy to settle this peacefully, including at the highest level,” Mr. Sullivan said. “But every indication we see on the ground right now in terms of the disposition of Russian forces is that they are in fact getting prepared for a major attack on Ukraine.”
The White House said late Sunday that President Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed “in principle” to meet this week if Russia doesn’t attack Ukraine.
But the Kremlin dismissed those reports on Monday, saying talk of a summit between the two leaders was “premature.”
As many as 190,000 soldiers have massed near Ukraine’s borders. The Kremlin has repeatedly denied its interest in attacking Ukraine, accusing the West of hysteria.
Mr. Biden on Friday said he believes Mr. Putin has made up his mind to invade Ukraine.