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Friday, national security adviser Jake Sullivan announced that the US now believes Russian president Vladimir Putin could order an invasion of Ukraine as soon as next week.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the disposition of Russian forces around Ukraine’s borders showed Russia was positioned to mount a major military action in Ukraine “any day.”
“It is the time to leave now,” Sullivan says, urging Americans to leave Ukraine within the next 24-48 hours.
“We are in the window when an invasion could begin at any time, should Vladimir Putin decide to order it.”
US officials had previously speculated that if Putin were to order an attack on Ukraine, he would wait until the end of the Beijing Olympics on February 20 out of deference to Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Sullivan says the US would not conduct a military evacuation of citizens from a war zone. “The president will not be putting the lives of our men and women in uniform at risk by sending them into a war zone to rescue people who could have left now but chose not to.”
According to PBS foreign affairs correspondent Nick Schifrin, a Russian attack would “be preceded by two days of aerial bombardment, followed by a ground assault with the potential goal of overthrowing the Kiev government led by President Volodymyr Zelensky.”
PBS adds that Washington expects a “horrific, bloody” campaign.
In addition, the British government announced that it has advised all UK citizens against traveling to Ukraine.
President Joe Biden has threatened to block the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline if Russia invades Ukraine. Sullivan concludes the US is ready to react “either way.”
*This is a developing story.