KYIV, Ukraine — Russia pushed back fiercely against stark warnings by the Biden administration that Moscow could imminently mount a renewed invasion of Ukraine, accusing the West of hysteria and spreading disinformation even as Russian forces continue to hold major exercises near Kyiv’s borders.

But a Russian state-owned news agency reported Saturday that employees at the Kremlin’s diplomatic missions have begun to leave Ukraine. RIA Novosti, citing an unidentified “informed source,” said Moscow was joining the growing international exodus of embassy and consular staff amid the growing warnings.

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan cautioned Friday that there is a “very distinct possibility” that Russia will invade Ukraine in a “reasonably swift time frame” and urged all U.S. citizens there to leave immediately. Sullivan could not confirm that Russian President Vladimir Putin had made a final decision to attack, but he said that military action could begin “any day.”

The Associated Press reported late Friday, citing unidentified officials, that the United States plans to announce Saturday it will evacuate its embassy in Kyiv. The State Department and the embassy did not immediately return requests for comment. The families of U.S. diplomats in the Ukrainian capital were told to leave earlier this year.

The TikTok buildup: Videos reveal Russian forces closing in on Ukraine

A junior British defense minister said Saturday that U.K. military trainers in Ukraine would leave over the weekend. “There will be no British troops in Ukraine if there is any conflict with Russia”, James Heappey told Sky News.

Sullivan’s warning echoed those issued overnight Thursday by President Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken. He said a Russian attack would be “likely to begin” with aerial bombing and missile strikes, and “no one would be able to count on air or rail or road departures.”

The Kremlin has massed some 130,000 heavily armed troops around Ukraine, from which it annexed Crimea in 2014. Moscow is also carrying out naval exercises near the southern coastline of mainland Ukraine, as well as a major training operation in Belarus — in striking distance of Kyiv — that analysts caution could be a precursor to an invasion.

Russia has denied it plans to attack Ukraine, an increasingly pro-Western former Soviet republic that Putin considers part of his sphere of influence. “The hysteria of the White House is more revealing than ever. The Anglo-Saxons need a war. At any price,” wrote Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova on Telegram. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

“Our troops are still on our territory and I wonder if the US will invade #Ukraine itself — someone has to, after such a panic campaign,” tweeted Russian Deputy United Nations Ambassador Dmitry Polyanskiy in response to Sullivan’s briefing.

By admin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.