Washington — US President Joe Biden has called on all American citizens remaining in Ukraine to immediately leave the country due to increased Russian military action threats.
The US President said he would not send troops to rescue Americans if the Russians invaded Ukraine. He warned the region could go crazy quickly. Russia has repeatedly denied its plans to invade Ukraine despite amassing over 100,000 troops at the border.
The Kremlin stated it intends to enforce “red lines” to ensure that its former Soviet neighbor does not join NATO.
On Thursday, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that Europe faced its biggest security crisis in decades amid the tensions. The US State Department urged Americans in Ukraine to leave immediately. “American citizens should leave now,” Biden told NBC News.
Asked whether he would send troops to rescue fleeing Americans, President Biden replied: “There’s not. It’s a world war when America and Russians start shooting at one another.”
World leaders, meanwhile, continued their frenzied diplomacy to defuse the current crisis over Ukraine.
Russia and Ukraine announced they failed to reach any breakthrough in a day of talks with French and German officials to end the separatist conflict in eastern Ukraine.
The current tensions have existed since Russia annexed Ukraine’s southern Crimea peninsula, with Ukraine’s military locked in a war with Russian-backed rebels in eastern areas bordering Russia.
Earlier, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he hoped “strong deterrence” and “patient diplomacy” could find a way through the crisis, but the stakes were “very high.”
In a joint news conference in Brussels with Nato secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg, Johnson said he did not believe Russia had yet decided to invade Ukraine but the UK’s intelligence “remains grim.”
Asked whether the UK would consider going further in its support for Ukraine, including military support for an insurgency if Russia invades, British PM Johnson said he would “consider what more we can conceivably offer.”
“It’s possible, I don’t want to rule this out, but at the moment, we think the package is the right one,” he said.
During a frosty news conference with his British counterpart Liz Truss, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that the talks had been “disappointing.”
He said relations between the UK and Russia “leave much to be desired” and are at the “lowest point.” Truss accused Russia of “Cold War rhetoric.” UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace will meet his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu in Moscow.
Before the trip, Mr. Wallace confirmed that the UK provided more defensive equipment – including body armor, helmets, and combat boots – to the Ukrainian government. He also said it was essential to show that Nato countries “won’t let threats push us around.”
Meanwhile, Ukraine accused Russia of blocking its access to the sea as Russia prepared for naval exercises.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Russian forces almost entirely cut off the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea.
Russian naval exercises will occur next week in the two seas, with the coastal warning issued for missile and gunnery firing exercises.
Additionally to the naval exercises, ten days of military exercises are currently underway in Belarus north of Ukraine. These exercises position the Russian military close to Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital.
Russia has declared its troops will return to their bases at the end of the drill.
Moscow says it will not accept that Ukraine – a former Soviet republic with deep social and cultural ties with Russia – could join Nato’s Western defense alliance one day.
Russia has been backing a bloody armed rebellion in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region since 2014. Some 14,000 people – including many civilians – have died in fighting since then.
A renewed focus on the Minsk agreements that sought to end the conflict in eastern Ukraine could be used as a foundation to defuse the current crisis. Ukraine, Russia, Germany, and France backed the accords in 2014-2015.