invasion? what invasion?
A Russian invasion of Ukraine could cause 50,000 civilian casualties and capture the capital city of Kyiv within days, Biden administration officials told lawmakers at briefings that became public Saturday, The New York Times reported.
The officials said they could not confirm whether Russian President Vladimir Putin had made up his mind to order the invasion, but said they believe approximately 70 percent of the forces needed for an invasion are already in place.
According to The Washington Post, Dmitry Polyanskiy, Russia's deputy ambassador to the United Nations, dismissed the American intelligence assessment as "madness" and "scaremongering." He tweeted Sunday, "[W]hat if we would say that U.S. could seize London in a week and cause 300K civilian deaths? … Would it feel right for Americans and [Brits]? It's as wrong for Russians and Ukrainians."
Polyanskiy went on to post several more tweets criticizing the U.S. intelligence estimate. "Another masterpiece of U.S. propaganda war. Unnamed officials, undisclosed sources, no evidence," he wrote in one.
Last week, the Biden administration stopped referring to a Russian invasion of Ukraine as "immanent" after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said such rhetoric was doing more harm than good.
It's not just Russians and American right-wing anti-interventionists like Tucker Carlson who have been challenging the Biden administration's narrative on Ukraine. During a Thursday briefing, State Department spokesman Ned Price had a tense exchange with Associated Press reporter Matt Lee, who asked Price to provide evidence for his allegation that Russia plans to produce a video portraying a false flag attack against Russians staged by crisis actors posing as Ukrainians.
In response, Price encouraged Lee to "find solace in information that the Russians are putting out."