National Security Adviser Urges Americans to Leave Ukraine 'Immediately'


White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan is urging Americans to leave Ukraine “immediately,” citing a “strong possibility” of a Russian invasion.

During a press briefing at the White House on Friday, Sullivan said, “We encourage all American citizens who remain in Ukraine to depart immediately. We want to be crystal clear on this point. Any American in Ukraine should leave as soon as possible, and in any event in the next 24 to 48 hours.”

“We obviously cannot predict the future. We don’t know exactly what is going to happen. But the risk is now high enough, and the threat is now immediate enough that this is what prudence demands. If you stay, you are assuming risk with no guarantee that there will be any other opportunity to leave and no prospect of a U.S. military evacuation in the event of a Russian invasion,” he added.

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Russia has amassed roughly 130,000 troops on Ukraine’s border, stoking concerns that it is planning an invasion.

Sullivan also said that there is a “credible prospect” that any Russian “military action would take place even before the end” of the Winter Olympics. However, he added the U.S. has not determined that Russian President Vladimir Putin has decided to invade Ukraine.

NBC News’ Lester Holt asked Biden during an interview that aired Thursday night, “What scenarios would you [send] American troops to rescue and get Americans out?”

“There’s not. That’s a world war when Americans and Russians start shooting at one another. We’re in a very different world than we’ve ever been in,” Biden responded.

When asked if he would send U.S. forces into Ukraine “on behalf of simply evacuating Americans.”

“No. How do you do that? How do you even find them?” Biden said, adding, “I’m hoping that if, in fact, he’s foolish enough to go in, he’s smart enough not to do anything that would negatively impact on American citizens.”

Holt asked Biden if he had told Russian President Vladimir Putin that American citizens would be “a line that they can’t cross.”

Biden said, “I didn’t have to tell him that. I’ve spoken about that. He knows that… Look, what I’ve asked is American citizens should leave, should leave now.”

“We’re dealing with one of the largest armies in the world. This is a very different situation, and things can go crazy quickly,” he added.

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