Democrat President Joe Biden’s administration ordered the families of all American personnel at the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine to immediately leave the country as Russia reportedly prepares to invade.
“The department told the dependents of staffers at the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv that they must leave the country. It also said that non-essential embassy staff could leave Ukraine at government expense,” the Associated Press reported. “State Department officials stressed the Kyiv embassy will remain open and that the announcement does not constitute an evacuation.”
The State Department mentioned the threat of Russian invasion in a statement on Sunday, saying that the situation could rapidly change with little notice.
“The security conditions, particularly along Ukraine’s borders, in Russia-occupied Crimea, and in Russia-controlled eastern Ukraine, are unpredictable and can deteriorate with little notice. Demonstrations, which have turned violent at times, regularly occur throughout Ukraine, including in Kyiv,” the department said. “Do not travel to Ukraine due to the increased threats of Russian military action and COVID-19. Exercise increased caution in Ukraine due to crime and civil unrest. Some areas have increased risk.”
Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), the Ranking Member on the Foreign Affairs Committee, warned on Sunday that Russia would invade Ukraine unless Biden took immediate action, including enacting sanctions against Russia before any such invasion takes place.
“We need joint exercises in Poland, the Baltic states, Romania, Bulgaria to show Putin that we’re serious. Right now,” he said. “[Russian President Vladimir Putin] doesn’t see we’re serious and that’s why the buildup is taking place. I think this all started with Afghanistan and the unconditional surrender to the Taliban when he saw weakness; weakness invites aggression. We saw that with Chamberlain and Hitler. You know, Reagan talked about peace through strength.”
Former Secretary of State and CIA Director Mike Pompeo said on Sunday that Putin was becoming increasingly aggressive because he views Biden as weak and not credible.
When asked if the situation with Russia amassing troops near Ukraine could be brought back from the brink, Pompeo said, “it’s awful late.”
“The real hard work of deterrence would have happened a long time ago, a year ago, when President Putin demanded that we give him a new START treaty extension, we gave it to him for nothing,” he said. “When they had Russian cyberattacks and they shut down the Colonial Pipeline, we told them you can only attack certain sectors, but 16 are off-limits. When we left Afghanistan in the way we did — those were the places where the administration had a chance to establish deterrence.”
“Putin saw this and so these tactical things today about whether our families will stay in Ukraine, we’ve got to [do] the right thing and take care of our families,” he continued. “But these tactical things aren’t what causes Vladimir Putin to recalculate his cost-benefit analysis. I think they don’t see President Biden as credible. I think they see all this talking, these pieces of paper being exchanged just not credible.”
This report has been updated to include additional information.