WASHINGTON (Fwrd Axis) — President Joe Biden will speak with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday after the United States warned there is a “distinct possibility” Russia could invade Ukraine before the end of the 2022 Winter Olympics on February 20, a White House official has confirmed.
The President will speak with Putin from the Camp David presidential retreat in Maryland, where he’s spending the weekend.
National security adviser Jake Sullivan said Friday the two leaders would speak but declined to say when. Biden last spoke to Putin at the end of December virtually and is spending the weekend at Camp David.
Sullivan warned Americans on Friday to evacuate Ukraine “within the next 24 to 48 hours” amid fears a Russian invasion on Ukraine could begin soon with aerial bombing and missile attacks.
President Biden is expected to call President Putin soon but @JakeSullivan46 says there's no timetable for when.
— Stephen Michael (@stephenreports) February 11, 2022
“Any American in Ukraine should leave as soon as possible, and in any event in the next 24 to 48 hours,” Sullivan said. “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.”
Sullivan said that Russia had enough military forces on the border with Ukraine to launch a “major military action against Ukraine” and said it could happen at any time. He added that it’s not clear if Putin has decided to invade Ukraine.
“I want to be crystal clear. A final decision has not been taken by President Putin, but we have a sufficient level of concern based on what we see on the ground and what our intelligence analysts have picked up that we’re sending this clear message and it remains a message that we have now been sending for some time. And it is an urgent message because we’re in an urgent situation,” he said.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said earlier Friday that Russia US continues “to see very troubling signs of Russian escalation, including new forces arriving at the Ukrainian border.”
Earlier Friday, Biden participated in a virtual meeting with U.S. allies, including the leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, Poland, and Romania.
“The leaders agreed on the importance of coordinated efforts to deter further Russian aggression against Ukraine, including their readiness to impose massive consequences and severe economic costs on Russia should it choose military escalation, and to continue reinforcing the defensive posture on NATO’s eastern flank,” the White House said in a statement.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Friday even though Biden is leaving to Camp David for the weekend, he will still be in contact with his National Security Team.
“The President fully equipped to have engagements of all sorts including with his national security team and European counterparts,” she said.