Biden Administration Briefs Top Members Of Congress Amid Reports Of Imminent Ukraine Invasion

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Michael Ginsberg Congressional Correspondent
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National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan briefed House of Representatives leaders by phone Monday morning, and will hold a classified briefing with top senators in the afternoon, amid reports that Russia will invade Ukraine within days.

The briefing for House leadership was unclassified, with several members on the call participating from out of town. The Senate briefing will include classified information, Fox News reported, since the upper chamber is in session.

During the call with House leaders, Sullivan said that the Biden administration would support a bipartisan sanctions package, Punchbowl News reported, and added that it would also consider its own sanctions. Senate Democrats previously filibustered a sanctions package targeting the Nordstream 2 natural gas pipeline after President Joe Biden promised to veto it. Biden lifted sanctions on the project in May 2021 at the behest of German chancellor Angela Merkel, although he has suggested that he would reimpose the sanctions if Russia invades. (RELATED: Bipartisan Bill Would Be The ‘Mother Of All Sanctions’ Against Russia)

Several news outlets have reported that Russia could invade Ukraine by Feb. 16. More than a dozen countries, including the U.S., have called on their citizens to leave the country, and the U.S. announced Monday morning that it would move embassy operations from capital Kyiv to the western city of Lviv.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky has pushed back on reports that a Russian invasion is imminent while proclaiming Feb. 16 a “Day of Unity.”

“If you, or anyone else, has additional information regarding a 100% Russian invasion starting on the 16th, please forward that information to us,” he said Saturday, according to the Associated Press.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke by phone with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on Monday morning. During the call, Blinken promised “a swift, coordinated, and forceful response” to “further military aggression by Russia,” according to a State Department press release.