President Joe Biden’s State Department has ordered all families of U.S. government personnel in Kyiv, Ukraine, to leave the country “immediately” due to the “increased threats” of a Russian invasion. Biden is also considering sending thousands of U.S. troops to Eastern Europe to help bolster NATO forces.
In a statement issued by the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, the State Department said it made the order “out of an abundance of caution due to continued Russian efforts to destabilize the country and undermine the security of Ukrainian citizens and others visiting or residing in Ukraine.”
“We have been in consultation with the Ukrainian government about this step and are coordinating with Allied and partner embassies in Kyiv as they determine their posture,” the statement continued.
Fox News confirmed that Mr. Biden is weighing sending several thousand U.S. troops to Eastern Europe and the Baltic States to assist with NATO efforts in the region.
Following a briefing with advisors at Camp David on Sunday, Biden is reportedly considering sending 3,000 to 5,000 American troops to Romania, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia.
Biden may also deploy naval vessels to potentially threatened NATO allies, Fox reported.
The departure order and possible deployment come just days after President Biden’s first press conference this year, during which he predicted Russia would invade Ukraine, but suggested a “minor incursion” would result in less severe consequences than an invasion. Biden’s remarks “stunned” the Ukrainian government, who said the president basically gave “the green light to Putin to enter Ukraine at his pleasure.”
On Thursday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky pushed back on Biden, tweeting, “We want to remind the great powers that there are no minor incursions and small nations. Just as there are no minor casualties and little grief from the loss of loved ones. I say this as the President of a great power.”
The State Department also elevated its travel advisory in Ukraine to “Level 4 – Do Not Travel due to the increased threats of significant Russian military action against Ukraine.”
“Whatever happened in Afghanistan had a ripple effect with Ukraine. Whatever is going to happen with Ukraine is going to have a ripple effect with China, but it will have a ripple effect with Iran. It’s going to have a ripple effect with North Korea because all of these countries will think they’ll seize the moment,” said K.T. McFarland, deputy national security adviser to former President Donald Trump. “They’ll think this is my time. America’s weak, it’s disorganized.”