Chris Lange, FISM News
The Biden administration has reportedly come up with a plan to get thousands of Americans out of Ukraine if Russia invades. American officials speaking on condition of anonymity say U.S. troops recently deployed to Poland will begin preparing for an evacuation by setting up checkpoints and temporary facilities inside Poland’s border with Ukraine, according to a Reuters report.
Roughly 30,000 Americans currently live in Ukraine, and the administration is purportedly scrambling to ensure a smooth exit in the hope of avoiding a repeat of the disastrous Afghanistan withdrawal that left thousands of Americans and Afghan allies behind and 13 U.S. service members dead. Sources say the White House has already signed off on the plan, though one unnamed official denied this, saying the U.S. is “constantly evaluating the evolving security situation and planning for a range of contingencies as we always do.”
President Biden said it would be “wise” for Americans in Ukraine to leave the country during a joint press conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz Monday, citing the risk of violence should Russia invade.
“I think it would be wise to leave the country,” Biden said, adding that he was not referring to U.S. diplomatic staff. “I would hate to see them get caught in a cross-fire if in fact [Russia] did invade. And there’s no need for that, and if I had anyone there I’d say leave,” he continued.
Western officials continue to say an invasion is likely within weeks, though Russia maintains it has no plans to attack Ukraine.
This comes amidst growing criticism, both at home and abroad, over how the Biden administration is handling the Ukraine crisis.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has repeatedly tried to downplay the administration’s claims that war is imminent as he watches diplomats flee Kyiv. At home, the media has begun challenging U.S. officials to back up their claims that Russia is preparing a “false flag” operation to justify an invasion and other grim reports foretelling a rapid Kyiv takeover and mass casualties.
Meanwhile, Rep. Matt Rosendal (R-Mont.) this week introduced legislation seeking to block additional U.S. troop deployments to Eastern Europe until the administration addresses its self-inflicted, unprecedented border crisis. In addition to the 1,700 American troops dispatched to Poland, the U.S. on Tuesday began to deploy its 2nd Cavalry Regiment from Germany to Romania, a Western Ally and Ukraine neighbor.
Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to meet with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg today at NATO headquarters in Brussels to discuss the ongoing standoff between Russia and the West over Ukraine. French President Emmanual Macron’s visit to Moscow earlier this week failed to move the needle in terms of negotiating a diplomatic resolution as the Kremlin continues shoring up its military arsenal at the border.
Though Russian officials maintain that they are not planning an attack on Ukraine, they caution that some type of military action could take place if the West fails to provide security guarantees, including barring Ukraine from NATO membership.