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Russia continues to deny any intent to invade the former Soviet nation despite its troop buildup of not only an estimated 100,000 troops in Russia, but the deployment of another 30,000 Russian troops to neighboring Belarus.
U.S. diplomatic staff who remained in Ukraine after the initial evacuation wave are moving to Lviv, a city in Western Ukraine near the Polish border, according to EuroIntegration.com.
"This is a temporary decision, the embassy team will return to Kyiv as soon as the security situation allows," said a spokesman for the State Department, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
A small number of officials have remained in Kyiv but the vast majority of the almost 200 Americans at the embassy were sent out or relocated to Ukraine’s far west, near the Polish border, so the U.S. can retain a diplomatic presence in the country.
The Pentagon announced Friday it is sending another 3,000 combat troops to Poland to join 1,700 who already are assembling there in a demonstration of American commitment to NATO allies worried at the prospect of Russia invading Ukraine.
krainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked President Biden for the unwavering support of the United States following a call between the two leaders.
“We feel it,” Zelenskyy said in reference to the “effective support” from the U.S. and NATO allies. “And we hope that, among other things, it will help prevent the spread of panic.”
Zelenskyy also highlighted Biden’s efforts to consolidate international support for Ukraine, also noting that they discussed sanctions in the event of escalation of Russian aggression.
“We are not a member of NATO yet,” Zelenskyy stressed. “Therefore, only a powerful Ukrainian army is the key to the security of our state."
Zelenskyy told Biden that his arrival in Ukraine would be “crucial for stabilizing the situation” as a “powerful signal and contribution to de-escalation.”
The Polish Minister of the Interior and Administration Mariusz Kaminski said that his country will prepare for the possibility of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, which would result in an "influx" of refugees into neighboring countries.
"It is obvious that due to the situation in Ukraine we are preparing for various scenarios," Kaminski tweeted. "One of them is the actions of the voivodes related to the possible influx of refugees from Ukraine who, due to a possible conflict, may seek a safe haven in our country."
Mayor Krzysztof Kosinski of Ciechanow said that government officials asked his town to produce a list of "accommodation facilities" for refugees, the number of people they could take in and the costs involved in adapting buildings.
Ciechanow sits roughly 200 miles from Poland's border with Ukraine.
President Biden's call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Sunday addressed the U.S. commitment to Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Biden made clear the U.S. would respond along with its NATO allies with swift and decisive action if Russia took any military action in Ukraine.
The leaders agreed on the importance of pursuing diplomacy and deterrence in response to Russia's aggression and build-up.
Ukraine's Foreign Affairs minister Dmytro Kuleba announced that the Ukrainian government is seeking a sit-down talk with Moscow "and all participating states" within 48 hours.
The meeting will address Russia's "reinforcement and redeployment along" Ukraine's border and in "temporarily occupied Ukraine."
"If Russia is serious when it talks about the indivisibility of security in the OSCE space, it must fulfill its commitment to military transparency in order to de-escalate tensions and enhance security for all,” Kuleba tweeted.
The call between President Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy concluded at 11:57 a.m. EST after 51 minutes.
Congress must pass bipartisan sanctions pre-invasion to help keep Russia out of Ukraine, according to Sen. Lindsey Graham.
"The best thing could happen is for us to pass a sanctions package pre-invasion with a waiver post-invasion sanctions that would destroy the ruble and cripple the Russian economy," Graham, R-S.C., said on "This Week," claiming the Senate had 70 votes "for invasion sanctions," and said it's "not enough to sanction a Russian bank."
"You want to sanction anybody that does business with that bank, and we're really going to be hard on Nord Stream two," Graham added. "We've got to convince the Russians that the Congress will destroy Nord Stream two as a cash cow for Putin, and we need a robust set of sanctions regarding the SWIFT program so Putin will understand the relationship with the United States would be forever changed."
A war reporter living in Ukraine for the past eight years is calling the mood in the nation similar to one in Florida before a hurricane as the world waits on edge to see if Russian forces will end up invading.
Nolan Peterson, a U.S. veteran, joined "Fox & Friends Weekend" to discuss what life is like on the ground as tensions between Vladimir Putin and the rest of the world continue to mount.
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Kirby said it might be too much to call German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s visit to Russia a “last ditch” effort at peace, but he stressed the need for diplomacy to resolve the crisis at Ukraine’s border.
“Certainly, we recognize the time component here seems to be shrinking and that gives us all cause for concern, but, again, we’ve said it and believe it today that there is still a time and a space for a diplomatic path forward,” Kirby said on “Fox News Sunday.” “We still believe there's an opportunity for that, and we welcome these moves by our European allies to try to engage Mr. Putin diplomatically.”
Kirby also noted that the U.S. will continue to move troops into NATO ally countries near Ukraine, but it will not deploy any troops into the country.
A “robust” force of roughly 80,000 troops stands ready in Europe, but Kirby said “there is no plan, no expectation that those troops are going to be going into Ukraine.”
Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said the fallout of the one hour long phone call between President Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin showed no sign that things were moving in a positive direction.
“It's certainly not a sign that Mr. Putin has any intention to deescalate, deescalate the tensions, and it's certainly not a sign that that he's recommitting himself to a diplomatic path forward,” Kirby told “Fox News Sunday” host Sandra Smith.
“So, it doesn't give us any cause for optimism.”Kirby reiterated the message that American citizens in Ukraine should leave immediately, saying “now’s not the time to be in Ukraine.”
Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said Sunday that the U.S. will not impose sanctions against Russia before any potential invasion of Ukraine, stating that the threat of sanctions right now has a "deterrent effect."
At the same time, however, Kirby readily admitted that current intelligence shows that despite that threat, Russia could stage an invasion "any day now," if not sooner.
"Right now we are not considering a preemptive sanction regime," Kirby told "Fox News Sunday."
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he United States denied Moscow’s claim Saturday that an American submarine was conducting operations in Russian territorial waters, breaking international law as tensions are high amid a possible invasion of Ukraine.
"There is no truth to the Russian claims of our operations in their territorial waters," U.S. Navy Capt. Kyle Raines, a spokesperson for the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, said, according to Reuters. "I will not comment on the precise location of our submarines but we do fly, sail, and operate safely in international waters."
Vladimir Putin’s government claimed the submarine ignored commands from the Russian navy via sonar to surface near the Kuril Islands in the Pacific Ocean early Saturday, forcing it to chase the U.S. vessel away using unnamed "appropriate means," the Navy Times reported.
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U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters Saturday that he spoke with his Russian counterpart over the phone and told him that any invasion of Ukraine would be met with a swift response from the U.S. and allies.
There seems to be a diplomatic stalemate at the moment. The Kremlin insists that there will not be an invasion, but seems to be taking actions that suggest the opposite. The U.S. says an invasion is all but certain and has been positioning troops in Eastern Europe despite President Biden's assurances that U.S. troops will not fight for Kyiv.
Beijing and Moscow have turned toward each other in the face of what they see as U.S. aggression and expansion in their own backyards. Blinken blamed the current crisis on Russia's decision to deploy over 100,000 troops to its border with Ukraine. Moscow has maintained that it does not want Ukraine to become a full NATO ally and it does not want NATO to continue its expansion, which it sees as a security threat.
Blinken visited Fiji on Saturday and said, “We see our long-term future in the Indo-Pacific. It’s as simple and basic as that,” according to the New York Times. -Edmund DeMarche
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