Ukraine is taking shots at Democrat President Joe Biden’s administration for urging the families of U.S. diplomats in Ukraine and U.S. citizens in the country to leave as soon as possible amid the threat of an imminent invasion by Russia.
A source close to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told BuzzFeed News on Monday that Zelensky “does not think there’s any remotely imminent threat to Kyiv.”
“The fact that the US was the first one to announce this is extremely disappointing and quite frankly these Americans are safer in Kyiv than they are in Los Angeles … or any other crime-ridden city in the US,” the source said. “On the one hand, [Washington tells Ukraine] how we should democratize. We stand with you. It’s your right to determine to join the West. We will stand with you against Russian aggression. Then Russia turns up the temperature and they’re the first to leave.”
The source said that Zelensky views Biden’s panicky response as “utterly ridiculous” and a sign of “U.S. inconsistency.”
Zelensky’s comment comes as the Biden administration told “dependents of staffers at the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv that they must leave the country,” the Associated Press reported over the weekend.
The State Department mentioned the threat of Russian invasion in a statement, 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.”
Josep Borrell, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, responded to the move by the Biden administration by telling reporters, “We are not going to do the same thing because we don’t know any specific reasons. But [U.S.] Secretary [of State Antony] Blinken will inform us.”
Borrell noted that “negotiations are going on” and that he did not see any reason to withdraw from Ukraine “unless Secretary Blinken gives us an information that justifies a move.”
AFP noted that Borrell indicated that there was no need to “dramatize” the situation, an apparent shot at Democrat President Joe Biden.
Biden is considering the deployment of “several thousand U.S. troops, as well as warships and aircraft, to NATO allies in the Baltics and Eastern Europe, an expansion of American military involvement amid mounting fears of a Russian incursion into Ukraine,” The New York Times reported on Sunday night. “The move would signal a major pivot for the Biden administration, which up until recently was taking a restrained stance on Ukraine, out of fear of provoking Russia into invading.”
The report said that senior military officials told Biden that he could deploy up to 5,000 U.S. troops to the region with the ability to ramp that number up “tenfold if things deteriorate.” Biden is expected to make a decision as early as this week about what course of action he will take.
This report has been updated to include additional information.