The US warned that Russia could invade Ukraine “at any time” on Friday, and urged US citizens to leave the country as soon as possible.
Although Russia has stated many times that it does not intend to invade the country, many world leaders, such as US President Joe Biden, see an invasion of Ukraine on the horizon.
That’s why Biden warned US citizens in Ukraine to leave immediately, as fleeing the country in the case of an invasion could be nearly impossible and very dangerous.
Citizens of the UK, Netherlands, Japan, and South Korea have also been urged to leave the country.
Biden stated that he would not send troops to help rescue civilians stuck in the country in the case of a military invasion.
“American citizens should leave now…We’re dealing with one of the largest armies in the world. It’s a very different situation and things could go crazy quickly,” Biden stated to NBC News on Friday.
Russian invasion of Ukraine on the horizon?
Antony Blinken, US Secretary of State, said that “an invasion could begin at any time, and to be clear, that includes during the Olympics,” while on a visit to Australia on Friday.
All non-essential staff members at the US Embassy in Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital, have been ordered to return to the US, but the country will “maintain a small consular presence” for emergencies in Lviv, a city in western Ukraine.
Russia has recently sent around 10,000 troops to the Ukrainian border, and Jake Sullivan, US National Security Adviser, stated that Russia is “in a position to be able to mount a major military action.”
Sullivan urged US citizens to leave the country, stating: “We obviously cannot predict the future, we don’t know exactly what is going to happen, but the risk is now high enough and the threat is now immediate enough that leaving is prudent.”
In addition to amassing forces at the Ukrainian border, Russia has also planned to conduct military exercises in the Black Sea, adding to international fear over a potential invasion.
Foreign policy experts believe that Russia is looking for any pretext to invade the country, including fabricating an attack.
Russia has been conducting naval exercises in Crimea and military exercises in Belarus for days, provoking fear in nearby Ukraine. Russia invaded and annexed Crimea, a peninsula in southern Ukraine, in 2014.
Both US President Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron will discuss the matter over the phone with Russian leader Vladimir Putin over the weekend in hopes of de-escalating the situation.
Biden and many international leaders plan to hit Russia with crippling economic sanctions in the country decides to invade Ukraine.
While the US President has stated that he will not send troops to fight in Ukraine itself, he has deployed over 5,000 troops to other Eastern European countries, such as Poland and Romania, to ensure the safety of US allies.