Live updates: Biden-Putin talks and Ukraine crisis news

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Russia could invade Ukraine at any time, says US

Jake Sullivan, the national security adviser, has warned that Russian President Vladimir V. Putin could launch a major assault on Ukraine before the end of the Winter Olympics in Beijing, but said Mr. Putin does not had not yet made a final decision.

“We are in the window where an invasion could start at any time if Vladimir Putin decides to order it. I will not comment on the details of our intelligence information, but I want to be clear: it could start during the Olympics. We encourage all U.S. citizens remaining in Ukraine to leave immediately. We want to be crystal clear on this point. Any American in Ukraine should leave as soon as possible and in any event within the next 24-48 hours. We cannot obviously not predicting the future. We don’t know exactly what will happen, but the risk is now high enough and the threat is now sufficiently immediate that caution demands. If you stay, you assume a risk without any guarantee that there will be another possibility of leaving, and there – no prospect of American military evacuation in the event of a Russian invasion. do they that the president – pardon me – that President Putin made a decision because PBS NewsHour just reported a little while ago that the United States believes Putin made a decision and also communicated this decision to the Russian army. Is it correct ? “The report you just referred to, which I have yet to see, does not accurately reflect the view of the US government today. Our view is that we don’t believe he’s made a final decision or we don’t know he’s made a final decision, and we haven’t communicated that to anyone.

Jake Sullivan, the national security adviser, has warned that Russian President Vladimir V. Putin could launch a major assault on Ukraine before the end of the Winter Olympics in Beijing, but said Mr. Putin does not had not yet made a final decision.CreditCredit…Photo by Tyler Hicks/The New York Times

President Biden spoke with Russian President Vladimir V. Putin for an hour on Saturday in an effort to defuse the Ukraine crisis, and the State Department ordered all but a “core team” of its diplomats and employees to leave the American Embassy in Kiev. for fear that Moscow would soon launch a major assault.

Details of the phone call have yet to be released as of early Saturday afternoon.

Reflecting urgent concern in Washington over Russia’s growing military buildup around its smaller neighbor, the Pentagon said it would temporarily withdraw 160 US military trainers from the country, where they worked with Ukrainian troops near the Polish border.

Even as Mr. Biden and Mr. Putin spoke by phone — and after calls earlier Saturday between top US and Russian diplomats and between the countries’ defense secretaries — the path to a diplomatic resolution of the impasse appeared to be clear. shrink, with increasing numbers of Russian and Russian-backed forces massing around Ukraine on three sides.

US intelligence officials believed Mr Putin was prepared to wait out the Winter Olympics in Beijing before possibly ordering an offensive, to avoid antagonizing Chinese President Xi Jinping, a key ally. But in recent days, they say, the timeline has started to move up, an acceleration that Biden administration officials began publicly acknowledging on Friday.

“We continue to see signs of Russian escalation, including new forces arriving at the Ukrainian border,” Jake Sullivan, the president’s national security adviser, told reporters on Friday, adding that an invasion could begin “during the Olympic Games”, which are scheduled for the end of February 20.

US officials do not know whether Mr Putin has decided to invade, Mr Sullivan insisted. “We are ready anyway,” he said. “Whatever happens next, the West is more united than it has been in years.”





Border with Russian units

Transnistria, a

supported by Russia

separatist region

from Moldova.

Russia invaded and

annexed Crimea

Peninsula of

Ukraine in 2014.

approximate line

separating Ukrainian and

Russian-backed forces near

two breakaway provinces.

border with

Russian units

Russia annexed

Crimea

Peninsula of

Ukraine in 2014.

Transnistria, a

supported by Russia

separatist region

from Moldova.

approximate line

separating Ukrainian

and supported by Russia

forces.


The United States has gathered intelligence that Russia is discussing next Wednesday as a target date for the start of military action, officials said, acknowledging the possibility that mentioning a particular date could be part of a recovery effort. Russian disinformation.

Ukraine’s government has called for calm, with President Volodymyr Zelensky saying he had not seen intelligence indicating an imminent Russian attack and that “too much information” about a possible offensive was causing unnecessary fear.

The United States has ruled out sending troops to defend Ukraine, but has increased deployments to NATO member countries in Eastern Europe. The Pentagon announced on Friday that it had sent 3,000 additional troops to Poland.

The White House is eager to avoid a repeat of the chaotic evacuation of US embassy staff from Kabul last August as Afghanistan fell to the Taliban. The United States and countries like Britain, Denmark, Germany, Japan, Latvia and the Netherlands have issued increasingly urgent calls for their citizens to leave Ukraine. On Saturday, KLM, the main Dutch airline, announced that it would stop flying to Ukraine, citing the security situation.

A State Department official stressed on Saturday that the US military will not evacuate US citizens from Ukraine like troops have done in Afghanistan.

Russia has accused Western countries of spreading false information about its intentions. On Saturday, its Foreign Office said it was withdrawing some of its diplomatic staff from Ukraine because it “comes to the conclusion that our American and British colleagues appear to be aware of certain military actions”.


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