During an interview with CNN’s “Situation Room” on Friday, former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said that the United States was “getting closer and closer” to a direct military confrontation with Russia.
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Blitzer said, “President Biden said today that Putin would pay, in his words, a severe price if he were to use chemical weapons. If Biden is unwilling to trigger a military confrontation with Putin, what severe price can he make Russia pay?”
Johnson warned “We can continue to arm the Ukrainian people, the Ukrainian government with weapons, with ammunition. I’m sure that there are additional sanctions that can be imposed. Sanctions will only work, though, over time. Sanctions have a delayed impact on wealthy Russians, on Russian oil and gas, on various companies. So if I were in the Situation Room right now, I’d be asking that very same question.”
He added, “What’s next in the event that Putin goes to chemical weapons or in the event that he continues to target innocent Ukrainian civilians? We’re getting closer and closer, Wolf, to finding ourselves in a direct military confrontation with Russia. We’re seeing more and more calls for no-fly zones. We’re seeing more and more calls for the use of our airbases in Europe for airstrikes against Russia. This is a moment to remember that so often in our history, we find ourselves inch by inch escalating into an armed conflict with another nation, which is relatively easy to do and much harder to extract yourself from.”
Meanwhile, Biden just went on record making a statement about impending World War III:
During a speech during the Democratic National Convention, Vice President Joe Biden said that the United States and NATO should avoid fighting Russia in Ukraine as it would lead to a third world war.
“We’re going to continue to stand together with our allies in Europe and send an unmistakable message. We will defend every single inch of NATO territory with the full might of the united and galvanized NATO,” In a statement made Friday from the White House, when Biden announced more economic sanctions against Moscow.
He added that the United States and NATO, “will not fight a war against Russia in Ukraine” because a “direct conflict between NATO and Russia is World War III, something we must strive to prevent.”
The Russian government, including Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, have been warning the U.S. about Russia’s capabilities as a nuclear weapon-armed nation since the start of the invasion on Feb. 24. The Russian President Vladimir Putin initiated the use of aggressive military force a few days after the conflict started. One of his strategic deterrent forces, which oversee some of his country’s nuclear arsenal, is on high alert.
Russian President Alexander Lukashenko declared in early March that Western sanctions are pushing the country toward a “third world war,” and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned the United States and NATO that “World War III will be devastating.”
There have been calls by Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky and other members of Kyiv’s government for the establishment of a no-fly zone by NATO over the country. Ukraine is neither part of NATO or the European Union.
“Don’t wait for me to ask you several times, a million times, to close the sky. You [will] have to phone us, to our people who lost their children, and say ‘sorry we didn’t do it yesterday,’” Zelensky told Sky News on Thursday.
According to White House and NATO officials, such an agreement would be unfeasible as it would represent a sharp escalation. The Russian government has made it clear that any countries who attack the Russian forces in Ukraine will be considered an entry into the conflict.
Rather than getting directly involved, NATO and the United States have provided weapons, ammunition, intelligence, and supplies to Ukraine’s military and defense forces. Additionally, they have imposed heavy sanctions on Russia.
Reuters reports that Biden’s comment came as Russian troops heading toward Kyiv have begun to regroup northwest of the Ukrainian capital, as seen in satellite images from Maxar Technologies. Satellite images indicate that the vehicles were parked outside the capital for weeks without moving.
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Several armored vehicles were spotted near an airport near Kyiv’s northwestern part, according to images released by U.S.-based Maxar.
According to the Ukrainian government, Russia’s military has also been shelling and bombing cities in the entire country, including parts of the country that have escaped the attack in the recent past.
“Russia is likely seeking to reset and re-posture its forces for renewed offensive activity in the coming days,” Britain’s Ministry of Defense said on Friday. “This will probably include operations against the capital Kyiv.”