WASHINGTON, Jan 16 (KUNA) -- US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan reiterated Sunday that if Russia further invades Ukraine "there will be severe economic consequences and a price to pay".
"In terms of sanctions, what we have laid out is a very clear message to the Russians and we've done so in concert and in unison with our allies that if they do further invade Ukraine, there will be severe economic consequences and a price to pay," Sullivan told CBS network.
He added that "of course, if it turns out that Russia is pummeling Ukraine with cyberattacks and if that continues over the period ahead, we will work with our allies on the appropriate response".
"We're in close touch with our allies and partners, including the Ukrainians," he noted. "We'll have more to share in terms of the next steps into diplomacy early next week".
He stressed "the key point here is that we're ready either way, if Russia wants to move forward with diplomacy. We are absolutely ready to do that in lockstep with our allies and partners. If Russia wants to go down the path of invasion and escalation, we're ready for that too, with a robust response that will cut off their strategic position".
He continued "so, from our perspective, we are pursuing simultaneously deterrence and diplomacy and we've been clear and steadfast in that again, fully united with the transatlantic community".
On the Ukraine cyberattack, Sullivan said "we've been warning for weeks and months, both publicly and privately, that cyber-attacks could be part of a broad-based Russian effort to escalate in Ukraine".
He added "we've been working closely with Ukrainians to harden their defenses and we will continue to do so in the days ahead".
"Of course, it's possible that Russia could conduct a series of cyber-attacks. That's part of their playbook. They've done it in the past in other contexts," he stressed.
He continued "we have not specifically attributed this attack yet," but that "it would not surprise me one bit if it ends up being attributed to Russia". (end) si.ibi