A call between US President Joe Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday "did not go well," as the pair disagree on the "risk levels" of a Russian attack, a senior Ukrainian official told CNN.
The White House, however, disputed the official's account, warning that anonymous sources were "leaking falsehoods." They did state that Biden warned Zelensky an imminent invasion is a "distinct possibility."
On the call, which the Ukrainian official described as "long and frank," Biden warned his Ukrainian counterpart that a Russian attack may be imminent, saying that an invasion was now virtually certain once the ground freezes later in February, according to the official.
Zelensky, however, restated his position that the threat from Russia remains "dangerous but ambiguous," saying it's not certain that an attack will take place, the official added.
National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne, however, disputed the senior Ukrainian official's description of the call.
"Anonymous sources are 'leaking' falsehoods," she told CNN. "President Biden said that there is a distinct possibility that the Russians could invade Ukraine in February. He has said this publicly and we have been warning about this for months. Reports of anything more or different than that are completely false."
The frank discussion between the two leaders comes as the US and NATO continue to brace for the prospect of a Russian invasion. Though they have stressed the need for diplomacy, the White House has warned an invasion could be imminent as tens of thousands of Russian troops have been amassed on the Ukrainian border.
The Biden-Zelensky call lasted an hour and 20 minutes Thursday, according to a US national security official, and was highlighted by the extensive issues the two leaders had to discuss amid the Russian troop buildup. The official described the call as "long and serious," but "productive," as Biden and Zelensky discussed Russia's recent aggressions.