UKRAINE (Fwrd Axis) — After previously saying Russia would attack his country on Feb. 16, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy issued a clarification on Monday and said he was saying that in a sarcastic tone.
“We are told that February 16 will be the day of the attack,” Zelenskyy said in a video statement posted on Facebook.
The statement caused markets to scare and led to worldwide headlines and media reports.
Zelenskyy’s spokesperson, Sergii Nykyforov, said the president was only joking, saying what has been reported elsewhere.
“The president referred to a date that was spread by the media,” the spokesman told NBC News.
.@SecBlinken announces the U.S. is closing its embassy in Kyiv and "temporarily relocating" the small number of remaining diplomatic personnel to Lviv “due to the dramatic acceleration in the buildup of Russian forces.” #Ukraine pic.twitter.com/rEIGSSHaJU
— Stephen Michael (@stephenreports) February 14, 2022
Iervers said Zelenskyy’s tone was sarcastic as the United States announced is moving its embassy from Kyiv to the western city of Lviv “due to the dramatic acceleration in the buildup of Russian forces,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Monday.
Zelenskyy has refused to say Russia will attack, which the United States says could come in a matter of days. Russia has over 130,000 troops as well as tanks at the Ukraine border but has denied they have any plans to invade.
“I have ordered these measures for one reason — the safety of our staff — and we strongly urge any remaining U.S. citizens in Ukraine to leave the country immediately,” Blinken said.
The United States said last week the attack from Russia could come as soon as a matter of days, including during the Winter Olympics.
President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke for over an hour on Saturday. Biden told Putin that the U.S. and its allies “will respond decisively and impose swift and severe costs” if Russia decides to go forward with an invasion of Ukraine.
“President Biden was clear with President Putin that while the United States remains prepared to engage in diplomacy, in full coordination with our Allies and partners, we are equally prepared for other scenarios,” the White House statement said.