White House No Longer Calling Russian Invasion of Ukraine ‘Imminent’

The US narrative about a Russian invasion has fallen apart as Ukrainian officials have been downplaying the threat

Dialing back the rhetoric, White House Secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday that the Biden administration is no longer using the word “imminent” to describe the threat of a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Last week, Psaki insisted a Russian invasion of Ukraine was “imminent” even as officials in Ukraine were saying otherwise. The US claims about the threat to Ukraine angered officials in Kyiv, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Western leaders were creating a “panic.”

Psaki said Wednesday that the US decided to stop using the word “imminent” because they didn’t know if Russian President Vladimir Putin has made a decision to invade.

“I used that [word] once. I think others have used that once. And then we stopped using it because I think it sent a message that we weren’t intending to send, which was that we knew President Putin had made a decision,” she said.

While Psaki wants to downplay her use of the word, it’s clear from the transcript of a January 25th press conference that she meant it. In an exchange with a reporter, Psaki admitted that “imminent” has a “pretty intense meaning.” Asked if the US believes the threat of an invasion is “imminent,” Psaki replied, “correct.”

Russia has repeatedly denied that it is planning to invade Ukraine, and the US narrative has been crumbling as Ukraine and some NATO allies are also downplaying the threat. French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Wednesday that at this time, there is no indication Russia is ready to take action in Ukraine.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of Antiwar.com, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.