The US has warned of a “very clear prospect” of a Russian invasion of Ukraine over the next few days, potentially including a massive attack on Kiev, and asked all remaining Americans to leave the country within the next 48 hours.
Joe Biden is scheduled to speak to Vladimir Putin on the phone on Saturday. Diplomatic sources said Biden had told Allied leaders in a call that Vladimir Putin had decided to go ahead with the offensive, but national security adviser Jake Sullivan said: “We haven’t seen anything that will have the final say in the decision.” has been taken, [that] The order to leave has been given.”
“I would say that the way it has built up its forces and set them up, along with other indicators that we have gathered through intelligence, it makes it clear to us that there is a very distinct possibility that Russia will act. militarily, and there is reason to believe that this could happen on a much faster time frame,” Sullivan said.
“Now, we can’t pinpoint the day at this point, and we can’t pinpoint the hour, but what we can say is there is a credible possibility that there will be Russian military action even before the end of the Olympics.” The Winter Olympics in China kicks off on February 20.
According to diplomatic sources, Biden has told other NATO and EU leaders that the US believes Putin has decided to invade Ukraine, which could happen in the next few days.
Biden’s call for allies came after a status room meeting at the White House to discuss the latest intelligence on Russian military build-up and Putin’s thinking.
“This decision will result in practical things starting to happen on the ground, but that doesn’t mean Putin still can’t back down,” said a European diplomat. “There are more decision points along the line.”
Sullivan said US citizens still in Ukraine should be released over the next two days.
Sullivan said, “If you stop you are risking without any guarantee that there will be another opportunity to leave, and there is no possibility of a US military evacuation in the event of a Russian invasion.”
“If a Russian attack on Ukraine does go ahead, it is likely to be triggered by aerial bombardments and missile strikes that can apparently kill civilians regardless of their nationality. A subsequent ground offensive will involve uninformed A massive force majeure would be involved. Communications could be severed and commercial transit to be halted to arrange for departure.”
Late on Friday, the Russian Foreign Ministry accused Western countries of spreading false information with the help of the media to divert attention from their aggressive actions.
The White House said Biden was calling on transatlantic leaders to “discuss our shared concerns about the continued build-up of Russia’s military forces around Ukraine and to continue to coordinate on both diplomacy and deterrence.”
A European diplomat said the US had called for an urgent call with NATO allies and the heads of the EU Council and Commission to share new intelligence.
Western intelligence agencies believe that the most likely target of the Russian offensive would be to encircle Kiev and force a change of power.
Within minutes of Biden’s call. The UK Foreign Office urged British citizens in Ukraine to “no longer go through commercial means while they are available.”
According to the Tass news agency, the Russian embassy in Kiev said it was considering asking non-essential workers to leave. Other embassies intensified the evacuation on Friday.
According to news ofIsrael ordered family members of diplomatic staff out of the country, and the Kiev Post reported that the US had called on US members of the Ukraine surveillance mission run by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to leave the country by Tuesday .
Vice Admiral Nils Andreas Stensones, the head of the Norwegian Intelligence Service, said Russia now has 150,000 troops around Ukraine, adding that the decision to attack was rested with Vladimir Putin.
“Now it is first and foremost for President Putin if he chooses to do so,” Stensons said. “It is difficult to say whether this is probable or not, as it is entirely up to the Russian President to make that decision.”
He added that the Russians “needed to do everything from a small offensive in the east to small attacks here and there in Ukraine, or a complete invasion, possibly capturing all or part of Ukraine”. .
Western intelligence agencies largely agree that Putin has now deployed enough troops to attempt an invasion, a sentiment reflected in warnings from Biden and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson over the past 24 hours .
Several invasion scenarios are considered possible, but there is a prevailing belief that any military intervention ordered by Putin would be designed to achieve regime change in Kiev. A lightning strike aimed at besieging Kiev could be seen, intended to force the fall of President Zelensky’s government and try to establish a pro-Russian regime without urban warfare.
Johnson insisted on Thursday that any aggression would amount to a massive miscalculation by Putin because Ukraine “will fight and they will oppose very strongly”. Any belief in the Kremlin that Russian intervention would be welcomed by anyone other than a small minority is wrong, the British minister insists.
The alert raised follows the failure of several diplomatic initiatives to lead to success. Reports suggested Emmanuel Macron’s more than five-hour conversation with Putin in Moscow on Monday was superseded by the Russian leader’s long historical lectures, with little material on current events.
German officials’ accounts of the “Normandy format” negotiations between Russian, Ukrainian, German and French officials in Berlin were hard and no prospect of de-escalating tensions.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is due to visit Moscow on Tuesday to meet with Putin, but his spokesman said he was not taking any new diplomatic initiatives with him.
The head of the foreign affairs committee in the Bundestag, Michael Roth, a former minister, said on Twitter: “Russia has effectively annexed Belarus militarily. What is being called an “exercise” is actually Ukraine. is under siege, and poses a tangible threat to Poland and the Baltic States. The situation remains alarming.”
After a meeting with his Russian counterpart in Moscow, the British Defense Secretary, Ben Wallace, said he was assured that Russia had no intention of attacking Ukraine and made it clear to Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu was that any attack would result in tragic consequences.
Wallace said Russia’s military deployment gave him several options, including an invasion, and added that “it was important not to allow room for miscommunication or miscalculation”.
During a visit to Australia, Blinken warned that the repercussions of the Russian invasion would spread to Asia, where the US and its allies are increasingly in conflict with China.
“If we allow those principles to be challenged, even if it is in Europe half a world away, it will have an effect here too – other people are watching,” Blinken told reporters in Melbourne.
“Others are watching us all to see how we respond. That’s why it’s so important that we have this solidarity: that we do everything possible, through diplomacy, to avert conflict and prevent aggression. – but equally, be firm if Russia renews its aggression.”
US officials said Friday that the Pentagon would send another 3,000 combat troops to Poland to join the 1700s already gathering there.