Biden urges US citizens to leave Ukraine immediately
U.S. President Joe Biden has urged all U.S. citizens in Ukraine to leave the country at once, due to the risk of an imminent Russian invasion.
“American citizens should leave now,” Biden said in an interview with U.S. television channel NBC on Feb. 11
“It’s not like we’re dealing with a terrorist organization. We’re dealing with one of the largest armies in the world. It’s a very different situation, and things could go crazy quickly.”
The president also said that U.S. military will not help evacuate Americans, should war break out in Ukraine.
“That’s a world war when Americans and Russia start shooting at one another,” he said.
Biden’s message echoes the position of U.S. State Department, which has advised U.S. citizens against visiting Ukraine in near future.
On Feb. 11, the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv issued a travel advisory stating that “U.S. citizens should not travel to Ukraine, and those in Ukraine should depart now using commercial or other privately available transportation options,” in email to U.S. citizens in the country.
A Russian troop buildup that began in late autumn on the Ukrainian border was first widely reported in early December 2021, with several media outlets speculating that Russia might invade Ukraine with a force of 175,000 troops in early 2022.
On Feb. 5, Reuters reported that U.S. officials estimate Russian forces are at 70% of the level needed for a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
Currently, there are approximately 140,000 Russian troops surrounding Ukraine, from Russia, Belarus, and the temporarily occupied territories.
The United States sees indications that Russia is preparing for a major offensive against Ukraine by mid-February, according to U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman.
Russia denies having further plans to invade Ukraine, and has issued ultimatums demanding that Ukraine be forbidden from acceding to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), in addition to a guarantee against any expansion of NATO military infrastructure eastward.
On Feb. 3, Ukraine’s Defense Ministry, Oleksii Reznikov, said that the Kremlin’s rhetoric in regards to Ukraine has become less aggressive, and claimed that a major military escalation is unlikely.
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