New: Senior admin officials say the US has finalized sanctions options in the event that Russia invades Ukraine. The Biden administration has sanctions targets and implementation measures “ready to go to be issued when those tanks cross the border,” one official said.
“The final package will depend upon exactly what scenario we are facing," he added. "But we are no longer at the point where we have just a memo that lays out options. We have concrete actions that we are ready to hit the return key on.”
The US is also aware of the risk that Putin tries to retaliate against any economic sanctions by weaponizing the export of Russian gas to Europe, and officials said contingencies are being planned if that happens.
Sources familiar with those contingencies said they include fuel switching & and increased LNG exports from Norway, the Netherlands, Qatar, & UAE. European authorities are also looking at how much of a buffer their storages would provide in the event Russia shut off exports.

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More from @NatashaBertrand

14 Jan
Scoop: The US has information that indicates Russia has prepositioned a group of operatives to conduct a false-flag operation in eastern Ukraine, a US official told CNN on Friday, in an attempt to create a pretext for an invasion. Story to come.
The official said the US has evidence that the operatives are trained in urban warfare and in using explosives to carry out acts of sabotage against Russia’s own proxy forces.
The allegation echoes a statement released by Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense on Friday, which said that Russian special services are preparing provocations against Russian forces in an attempt to frame Ukraine. NSA Sullivan hinted at this intel on Thursday.
Read 5 tweets
8 Jan
Sources familiar with the sanctions options said the administration is prepared to impose a range of significant trade restrictions on Russia should it invade Ukraine, including export control measures that could hamper its defense and aviation sectors.…
Through the Foreign-Produced Direct Product Rule that the US has also imposed against Chinese tech company Huawei, the Biden administration is weighing banning exports to Russia of microelectronics —think computer chips—designed with US software or produced using US equipment.
Officials stressed that in the event of an invasion the US will go straight for high-impact targets, explicitly drawing a contrast with the response in 2014. Unlike then, the administration is prepared to adopt a "start high, stay high" approach with regard to Russian targets.
Read 4 tweets
28 Sep 21
"The fact that the Afghan army we and our partners trained simply melted away, in many cases without firing a shot, took us all by surprise, and it would be dishonest to claim otherwise," Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin tells Senators.
Gen. Milley: "A reconstituted Al Qaeda or ISIS with aspirations to attack the United States is a very real possibility. And those conditions...could present themselves in the next 12 to 36 months. That mission will be much harder now but not impossible."
Milley says with respect to the Chinese calls, "The calls on 30 October and 8 January were coordinated before and after with [then-Defense Secretary] Esper and acting Secretary Miller's staffs and the interagency."
Read 6 tweets
30 Aug 21
Breaking: Pentagon announces completion of withdrawal from Afghanistan.
The last C-17 left Hamid Karzai Airport at 3:29 p.m, Gen. McKenzie says.
No Americans were on the last flights out, McKenzie says. As of earlier today there were still around 250 left in the country.
Read 4 tweets
26 Aug 21
"We will hunt you down and make you pay," Biden says to perpetrators of the attack and those who wish to do harm to the U.S.
"I've also told my commanders to attack ISIS-K assets and we will respond with precision, at our time, at a place that we choose, and the moment of our choosing. Here's what you need to know. These ISIS terrorists will not win," Biden says.
"I've instructed the military, whatever they need, if they need additional force, I will grant it," Biden says. But he says his officials subscribe to the mission as designed.
Read 4 tweets
17 Aug 21
New: US personnel destroyed passports of some Afghans when they were getting rid of sensitive materials at the US embassy in Kabul in preparation for a full evacuation, according an update that Rep. Andy Kim’s office is sharing with people who request assistance w/evacuations.
Rep. Tom Malinowski said that the US will have to come up with ways to verify the identity of Afghans whose passports were burned. “We are going to have to take people without passports and vet them in other ways, like with their phone numbers for example. 1/
In many cases we know their contact information and their phone numbers and that is how we will have to identify them. Any Afghans braving the trip to the airport will not have wanted to go there with identifying documents, anyway,” Malinowski told CNN.
Read 4 tweets

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