President Joe Biden on Friday warned Russian President Vladimir Putin against taking military action against Ukraine after US intelligence warned of Russia's plans to launch an offensive attack as early as 2022.
"We've been aware of Russia's actions for a long time and my expectation is we're gonna have a long discussion with Putin," Biden told reporters outside Camp David in Maryland on Friday, according to the Associated Press.
A Biden administration official told the Associated Press that US intelligence has determined Russia plans to deploy 175,000 troops to Ukraine, and about half of them are already stationed near the Ukrainian border.
"What I am doing is putting together what I believe to be will be the most comprehensive and meaningful set of initiatives to make it very, very difficult for Mr. Putin to go ahead and do what people are worried he may do," Biden also said Friday.
According to the Washington Post, which first reported the US intelligence information on Friday, the Kremlin is planning an offensive attack as early as next year. It's also demanding the US promise the Ukraine will not join NATO and that NATO will stay out of the region, according to the Post report.
"I don't accept anyone's red line," Biden said, per the AP.
According to the unclassified document seen by the Post, Russian troops are currently stationed in four locations with 50 battlefield tactical groups deployed with tanks and artillery, according to the Post.
"The Russian plans call for a military offensive against Ukraine as soon as early 2022 with a scale of forces twice what we saw this past spring during Russia's snap exercise near Ukraine's borders," a senior administration official told the Washington Post. "The plans involve extensive movement of 100 battalion tactical groups with an estimated 175,000 personnel, along with armor, artillery and equipment."
One Biden administration official told the Associated Press the US has seen an increase in Russian propaganda by proxies and media outlets to weaken Ukraine and NATO.
According to the AP, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the US is close to setting up a call next week between Biden and Putin.
"It certainly would be an opportunity to discuss our serious concerns about the bellicose rhetoric, about the military buildup that we're seeing on the border of Ukraine," Psaki said, according to the AP.
A source close to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Biden and Zelensky were also working to set up a call next week, the AP reported.
WASHINGTON: The Missile Defense Agency today announced it had finished construction and started initial fielding on a key radar program that, once operational, will play an integral role in protecting the homeland from ballistic missiles.
“The Long Range Discrimination Radar has finished construction, and we can now begin the testing phase that will lead to the full operational use of this vital system,” MDA Director Vice Adm. Jon Hill said in a statement. “LRDR will allow Northern Command to better defend the United States from ballistic and hypersonic missile threats.”
The S-band radar’s primary purpose is to distinguish between intercontinental ballistic missiles launched by adversarial nations towards the US and decoys or other innocuous objects moving through space. In addition to protecting the country from a legitimate attack, the capability to differentiate between real threats and decoys helps to preserve the Pentagon’s precious supply of interceptors.
LRDR represents one of the Pentagon’s newest ballistic missile sensors, accompanied by several other ground- and sea-based technologies deployed throughout the world, that all send information back to the GMD Fire Control component in Colorado. The ultimate goal with each new sensor is for the Pentagon to create enough vantage points and string together enough information so that no matter where in the world a missile is launched, its network of sensors will be able to find and track that threat until its neutralized.
“Digital, solid-state, and modular radars are already redefining the emerging radar renaissance. From Patriot to Aegis to GMD, the spectrum of air and missile threats is going to require a new generation of sensors, both radars and other types,” Tom Karako, a senior fellow focused on missile defense at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told Breaking Defense.
The announcement comes despite a handful of setbacks the program suffered last year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Parts of Lockheed Martin’s production were delayed to October 2020 from August 2020 when some workers tested positive for COVID-19, according to a Government Accountability Office report published in April. Coronavirus cases also paused work at the military base in Alaska, derailing “progress during the second half of the fiscal year for LRDR” and prompting further negotiations with Lockheed Martin over additional costs, GAO found.
“The increase included the costs to maintain critical staff on site to monitor the radar and equipment during the evacuation period, as well as production impacts, redeployment, and the performance impacts to the overall contract,” according to GAO.