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White House says Russian invasion could begin ‘any day,’ urges US citizens leave Ukraine

(The Hill) – A Russian invasion of Ukraine could begin “any day,” including before the end of the Winter Olympics, Biden administration officials warned Friday, sounding a greater sense of urgency about the threat of military movement by Moscow.

“It could begin any day now, and it could occur before the Olympics have ended,” White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters. The Olympics are scheduled to conclude on Feb. 20.

“I’m not going to get into intelligence information, but if you look at the disposition of intelligence forces … the Russians are in a position to be able to mount a major military action in Ukraine any day, and for that reason we believe that it is important for us to communicate to our allies and partners, to the Ukrainians and to the American citizens who are still there,” Sullivan said.

“I want to be clear though: We are not saying a final decision has been taken by President Putin,” he continued. “What we are saying is we have a sufficient level of concern based on what we have seen on the ground and what our intelligence analysts have picked up that we are sending this clear message.”

Sullivan also said Americans in Ukraine should seek to leave.

Sullivan’s comments echoed those of Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who said earlier Friday “we’re in a window” where an invasion was possible.

Biden administration officials have been sounding the alarm for weeks that a Russian invasion of Ukraine was possible as Moscow amassed troops and military equipment at the border of the two countries. 

President Biden said earlier this week that he did not believe Putin had decided whether to launch an incursion into Ukraine. Biden held a phone call earlier Friday with U.S. allies to discuss strategy on deterring Russian action against Ukraine.

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