On Saturday, the Pentagon decided to withdraw 160 American military trainers from Ukraine, just the latest sign that the United States fears a Russian invasion of the independent Soviet Bloc country. The former can happen any day.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said on Saturday that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin had ordered the “temporary repositioning” of those training personnel “out of an abundance of caution.” They will stay in Europe, Kirby said.
That news came shortly after the US embassy in Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, announced that most of its employees will leave the country, leaving behind a “embassies core group.” Washington continued to urge Americans in Ukraine to leave, warning that it would be difficult to get them out if Russia invaded.
A senior State Department official told reporters on Saturday’s call: “It looks like the situation is moving toward an increasingly active conflict. according to Military.com. “There are limits to what we can do in a war zone.”
American officials, including President Joe Biden, are spending the weekend in direct talks with Moscow in the hope of easing tensions. Biden is expected to speak with Russian President Vladimir Putin later today; that will be their first live chat since December.
Foreign Minister Antony Blinken and his Russian counterpart, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, spoke by phone on Saturday. In a news release published after the call, State Department spokesman Ned Price said that Blinken “made clear that a diplomatic path to resolving the crisis remains open, but it would require Moscow to de-escalate it.” and engage in good faith discussions”.
Blinken told Foreign Minister Lavrov that if Moscow moves forward with an invasion that “it will lead to a resolute, large-scale and unified transatlantic response”.
In its own speech, the Kremlin accused the US of inciting “propaganda” against Russia.
The impending prospect of a Russian invasion had been looming for months, but it was only the last day of American intelligence. reported to conclude that Putin has decided to make his move in the coming days. The Kremlin has continued to send troops to Ukraine’s border – at least 100,000 are there now – and is conducting naval exercises off Ukraine’s Black Sea coast.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has publicly denied reports of US confidence in an invasion and called for calm. On Saturday, when Ukrainians marched in Kyiv to protest against the Kremlin, Zelenskyy said that “the nation’s greatest enemy is panic.”
https://www.thedailybeast.com/us-orders-military-trainers-out-of-ukraine-as-russia-conflict-nears-ahead-of-biden-putin-call?source=articles&via=rss US orders military trainers to leave Ukraine as Russia nears conflict before Biden, Putin urges