Due to escalating Russian military threats, US President Joe Biden has ordered all American citizens still in Ukraine to evacuate the country immediately.
Mr. Biden has stated that if Russia invades Ukraine, he will not send soldiers to rescue Americans.
“Things might get crazy rapidly” in the region, he said.
Despite massing more than 100,000 troops along the Ukrainian border, Russia has consistently denied any ambitions to invade the country.
However, it has recently launched large-scale military exercises with Belarus, and Ukraine has accused Russia of obstructing its access to the sea.
The Kremlin has stated that it intends to impose “red lines” in order to prevent its former Soviet neighbor from joining Nato.
In the midst of the tensions, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson declared on Thursday that Europe is facing its worst security crisis in decades.
The US State Department has advised Americans in Ukraine to leave as soon as possible.
Mr Biden told NBC News, “American citizens should go immediately.”
“We’re up against one of the world’s largest armies. It’s a whole different circumstance, and things might easily spiral out of control.”
When asked if he could imagine a scenario in which he would send soldiers to rescue fleeing Americans, Mr Biden said: “There isn’t any. When the United States and Russia start firing at each other, it’s a world war. We live in a world that is vastly different from anything we’ve ever known.”
Meanwhile, world leaders resumed their frantic diplomacy to settle the present Ukraine issue.
After nine hours of discussions with French and German officials aimed at resolving the separatist crisis in eastern Ukraine, Russia and Ukraine reported late Thursday that they had failed to achieve any agreement. While there are disputes, Ukrainian ambassador Andriy Yermak stated that “there is a will to continue and a want to discuss.”
The present tensions are the result of Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s southern Crimea peninsula eight years ago. Since then, Ukraine’s military has been fighting Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine, close to Russia’s borders.
Earlier, UK Prime Minister David Cameron said he hoped “strong deterrence” and “patient diplomacy” could help resolve the issue, but that the stakes were “extremely high.”
Mr Johnson told a joint press conference in Brussels with Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg that he did not believe Russia had made up its mind about invading Ukraine yet, but that the UK’s intelligence “remains gloomy.”
On Friday, UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace was scheduled to meet with his Russian colleague Sergei Shoigu in Moscow, a day after Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Britain’s Liz Truss had a tense meeting.
Relations between the UK and Russia, according to Mr Lavrov, “leave much to be desired” and are at their “lowest point in recent years.” Ms Truss charged Russia for using “Cold War rhetoric.”
Before travelling to Moscow, Mr Wallace acknowledged that the UK was sending the Ukrainian government with extra defensive equipment, such as body armor, helmets, and combat boots. He also stressed the need of demonstrating that Nato nations “would not be pushed around” by threats.
Meanwhile, as Russia prepares for naval drills, Ukraine accuses Russia of limiting its access to the sea.
Russian soldiers have totally closed the Sea of Azov and are closing in on the Black Sea, according to Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba.
The Black Sea and the Sea of Azov, both to the south of Ukraine, will host Russian naval drills next week. Russian coastline warnings have been issued, citing missile and gunnery drills.
The “unprecedentedly broad region where the drills would be performed renders navigation in both seas nearly impossible,” according to Ukraine’s foreign ministry, while Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov tweeted that Russia has shut the international waters of the two seas.
The naval drills near Ukraine’s southern frontier come on top of the ten-day military drills already underway in Belarus, to Ukraine’s north.
There are concerns that if Russia decides to invade Ukraine, the drills will bring Russian troops closer to Kyiv, making an attack on the city easier. After the drills, Russia claims its troops will return to their regular posts.
Ukraine has begun its own 10-day military drills, albeit little specifics have been released.
Moscow has stated that it cannot accept that Ukraine, a former Soviet republic with strong social and cultural links to Russia, may one day join Nato, and has insisted that this be ruled out.
Since 2014, Russia has backed a violent armed uprising in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas area. Since then, 14,000 individuals have perished in battle, including many civilians.
Some believe that a fresh focus on the so-called Minsk accords, which aimed to end the fighting in eastern Ukraine, may be used to calm the present crisis.
In 2014-2015, Ukraine, Russia, France, and Germany approved the agreements.