“President” Joe Biden said Russia is poised to spread misery throughout Ukraine if they follow through with their plans for invasion, as American diplomats are fleeing the country.
The Associated Press reported on Saturday that:
“The United States is set to evacuate its embassy in Kyiv as Western intelligence officials warn that a Russian invasion of Ukraine is increasingly imminent,” adding that “U.S. officials said the State Department plans to announce early Saturday that virtually all American staff at the Kyiv embassy will be required to leave ahead of a feared Russian invasion.”
“A small number of officials may remain in Kyiv, but the vast majority of the almost 200 Americans at the embassy will be sent out or relocated to Ukraine’s far west, near the Polish border, so the U.S. can retain a diplomatic presence in the country.”
The US Embassy confirmed it has ordered all non-essential staff to depart the country immediately, also all U.S. nationals in the country have been urged to leave.
“Military action may commence at any time and without warning,” the U.S. has said.
Speaking on the phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Biden had an hour long conversation with the Russian leader, after earlier announcing that the State Department will be pulling U.S diplomatic personnel from Ukraine.
Currently, Ukraine is surrounded by some 130,000 Russian troops.
The conversation between Biden and Putin, focused on “Russia’s escalating military buildup on the borders of Ukraine,” as stated in a White House readout.
“President Biden was clear that, if Russia undertakes a further invasion of Ukraine, the United States together with our Allies and partners will respond decisively and impose swift and severe costs on Russia.
“President Biden reiterated that a further Russian invasion of Ukraine would produce widespread human suffering and diminish Russia’s standing.
“President Biden was clear with President Putin that while the United States remains prepared to engage in diplomacy, in full coordination with our Allies and partners, we are equally prepared for other scenarios,” the readout said.
A senior administration official termed the call “professional and substantive” but said there was “no fundamental change in the dynamic that has been unfolding now for several weeks,” CNN reported.
“The two presidents agreed that our teams will stay engaged in the days ahead,” the official said. “Russia may decide to proceed with military action anyway. Indeed, that is a distinct possibility.”
The official said the U.S. remains “committed to keeping the prospect of de-escalation through diplomacy alive.”
“But we’re also clear-eyed about the prospects of that, given the readily apparent steps Russia is taking on the ground in plain sight, right before our eyes. The stakes of this are too high not to give Russia every chance to avoid an action that we believe would be catastrophic. So as always, we continue along two paths.”
According to the official, Biden tried to assure Russia of its security, but it “remains unclear whether Russia is interested in pursuing its goals diplomatically.”
The official was asked whether or not they think a Russia invasion will actually come to fruition, the official replied, “I think the honest answer to that question is we don’t have full visibility into President Putin’s decision making.”
“But you know, we are not basing our assessment of this on what the Russians say publicly,” the official added.
“We are basing his assessment on what we are seeing on the ground … which is a continued Russian buildup on the border with Ukraine, and no meaningful evidence of de-escalation, or really of any interest in de-escalation.”
According to the official, the U.S will continue to support and increase support for Ukraine.