US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Friday that since Russia could invade Ukraine during the current Beijing Winter Olympics, Americans should leave the Eastern European country immediately. Blinken did not detail the reasons behind the State Department’s latest security alert, which calls on all US citizens to leave Ukraine. “Simply put, we are seeing very disturbing signs of Russian growth, including new forces on the Ukrainian border,” Blinken said in Melbourne, Australia.
“We are in a window when an attack can start at any time and, to be clear, that includes during the Olympics,” Blinken said. The Olympic Games are scheduled to end on February 20. Russia has accumulated more than 100,000 troops near Ukraine. It says it has no plans to attack, but wants the West to keep Ukraine and other former Soviet countries out of NATO. The threat of war in Ukraine and a strong alliance between Russia and China was high on the agenda for a meeting between Blinken and his counterparts from India, Japan and Australia in Canberra on Friday. The four nations make up the “Quad”, a group of Indo-Pacific democracies created to counter China’s growing regional influence.
UK Defense Secretary in Moscow
Britain’s defense secretary visited Moscow on Friday for talks on easing tensions amid a massive Russian war game near Ukraine. Ben Wallace’s visit comes a day after British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss held talks in Moscow, urging Russia to withdraw troops near Ukraine and warning that there was a “large-scale” chance of attacking its neighbour. But there will be consequences and there will be serious costs.” In an interview with NBC News on Thursday, US President Joe Biden reiterated his warning that any Americans still in Ukraine should leave as soon as possible.
“It’s not like we’re dealing with a terrorist organization. We’re dealing with one of the biggest armies in the world. It’s a very different situation and things can get crazy quickly,” he said. Asked if there was any scenario that would prompt him to send US troops to Ukraine to rescue the Americans, the president said, “Not so. It’s a world war when Americans and Russia start firing at each other.”
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