On Monday, President Joe Biden said any Americans who are currently in Ukraine should leave so they don’t “get caught in a crossfire” if Russia invades.
“I think it’d be wise to leave the country. Not — I don’t mean our — I don’t mean — I’m not talking about our diplomatic corps; I’m talking about Americans who are there. I’d hate to see them get caught in a crossfire if in fact they did invade. And there’s no need for that. And I — if I were they — if I had anyone there, I’d say leave,” Biden said during a press conference with German Chancellor H.E. Scholz at the White House.
Biden said he has had “numerous discussions” with “the Russians and particularly with Putin” regarding a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine, and said he doesn’t think Putin “knows what he’s going to do.”
“And I think he has to realize that it would be a gigantic mistake for him to move on Ukraine. The impact on Europe and the rest of the world would be devastating, and he would pay a heavy price,” Biden said. “I have been very, very straightforward and blunt with President Putin, both on the phone and in person. We will impose the most severe sanctions that have ever been imposed — economic sanctions — and there’ll be a lot to pay for that down the road.”
“It will affect others as well. It will affect us somewhat. It will affect Europeans. But it will have profound impact on his economy,” Biden continued. “But I don’t know. I know that he’s in a position now to be able to invade almost — assuming that the ground is frozen above Kyiv. He has the capacity to do that. What he’s going to do, I don’t know. And I don’t think anybody knows but him.”
In January, the Biden administration said that it will not be able to evacuate Americans from Ukraine in the event of a Russian invasion.
“To be clear, President Biden has said military action by Russia could come at any time. The United States Government will not be in a position to evacuate U.S. citizens in such a contingency,” a senior State Department official said. “So U.S. citizens currently present in Ukraine should plan accordingly, including by availing themselves of commercial options should they choose to leave the country.”
The administration also plans to deploy 2,000 U.S. troops from Fort Bragg, North Carolina to Poland and Germany, while about 1,000 troops comprising a Germany-based infantry Stryker squadron will move over to Romania. Both Poland and Romania border Ukraine to the west.