US says it ‘does not send military to start a war’ against Russia over Ukraine

The United States said on Sunday that the purpose of sending troops to Germany and Eastern Europe is not to start a war against Russia over the Ukraine conflict, after deploying an additional 3,000 troops to these destinations.

“The president has made it clear for months that the United States is not sending forces to start a war or fight a war with Russia in Ukraine,” national security adviser Jake Sullivan told Fox News on Sunday.

“We have sent forces to Europe to defend NATO territory.”

Sullivan told NBC’s Meet the Press that “a military escalation and invasion of Ukraine could happen at any time.”

“We believe that the Russians have put in place capabilities to mount a significant military operation in Ukraine and we have been working hard to prepare a response,” he said.

“President (Joe) Biden has rallied our allies. He bolstered and reassured our partners on the eastern flank, provided material support to the Ukrainians, and offered the Russians a diplomatic avenue.”

Ukraine insisted on Sunday that the possibility of resolving rising tensions with Russia through diplomacy remains greater than that of an attack.

US officials have warned that the Kremlin has amassed 110,000 troops along the border with its pro-Western neighbor, but intelligence assessments have not determined whether President Vladimir Putin actually decided to invade Ukraine.

Officials have told Congress and European allies in recent days that the Russian force amassed on the border is growing at a rate that would give Putin the firepower needed for a full-scale invasion — some 150,000 troops — in about few weeks.

They also said that Putin wants to handle all options, ranging from a limited campaign in Ukraine’s pro-Russian Donbas region to a full-scale invasion.

Russia denies that it is planning a military incursion into Ukraine.

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