US senator wonders if Putin is getting ‘all the facts’ on Ukraine

A key US senator who chairs the Intelligence Committee has expressed doubts that Russian President Vladimir Putin has “got all the facts” as he assesses a possible invasion of Ukraine, which US leaders and Europeans, could happen this week.

Democrat Mark Warner questioned Mr Putin’s analysis of the situation in his remarks to reporters after National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan briefed the Senate on the current situation behind closed doors on Monday.

Mr. Warner said The National that Western leaders’ contributions to Mr Putin have been “very limited” over the “last 12 to 18 months during Covid”.

However, the senator noted that he thinks the array of European leaders visiting Russia and Ukraine could impact Mr Putin’s decision whether or not to invade.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholtz, who is in Ukraine, is due to visit Moscow on Tuesday.

His visit follows a similar trip to Moscow by French President Emmanuel Macron last week.

“He has to get some of this information out because he talks to Western leaders regularly,” Warner said. The National.

“I hope the images of Ukrainians young and old training for an insurrection, the fact that Western intelligence warns if you see a Russian false flag operation will let the world know that this is not what ‘it seems to be,’” Mr. Warner said.

He raised the possibility of a long-term Ukrainian insurgency following any Russian invasion as well as a potential ripple effect that could bring Moscow into conflict with NATO by activating the self-defense clause of the item 5.

“The idea of ​​something that could be an all-out cyberattack on physical infrastructure in Ukraine could have ramifications in Poland,” Warner said. “Does this raise the NATO Article 5 challenge?”

“If there was ever a time when we shouldn’t be looking for immediate political advantage, this is probably one of those.”

Senator Marco Rubio

Both Mr Warner and Republican Marco Rubio called the situation “dangerous”.

And Mr. Rubio, a staunch critic of President Joe Biden, warned his colleagues against using the precarious security situation against the Democratic administration for partisan political purposes – a rare sentiment in today’s Washington. .

“This is a very serious matter that really poses quite a significant challenge to global security,” Rubio said. “If there was ever a time when we shouldn’t be looking for immediate political advantage, this is probably one of those.”

The briefing comes as weeks-long negotiations between Democrats and Republicans in Congress over a sanctions package against Russia continue to drag on.

The Biden administration and Democrats have pushed back against Republican demands to apply sanctions ahead of any possible Russian invasion of Ukraine as well as sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline between Russia and Germany.

But the Biden administration’s projections that a Russian invasion could begin at any time, coupled with the House of Representatives not holding votes this week, could render some of the debate over sanctions legislation moot.

“The administration has the power under the law to impose whatever penalties they need to impose, so I wouldn’t dwell on that too much at this point,” Mr. Rubio said.

Updated: February 14, 2022, 11:42 p.m.