Biden to speak with Putin as U.S. warns Ukraine invasion could be imminent

President Biden will speak with Russian Vladimir Putin on Saturday, the White House said as the administration raises alarms that a Russian invasion of Ukraine could come at any moment.

The call is scheduled for late Saturday morning, Washington time. Mr. Biden requested the call and the Kremlin suggested they talk on Monday, before accepting White House’s counter offer to speak Saturday.

The last time the two leaders spoke was Dec. 30. Since that call, the number of Russian troops near the Ukraine has surged and the prospects of an attack have increased, the administration has said.

Mr. Biden is spending the weekend at the Camp David presidential retreat in Maryland’s Catoctin Mountains.

Mr. Putin has spoken to several other world leaders, including French President Emmanuel Macron, who visited the Kremlin on Monday, but those talks have not appeared to defuse the situation.

U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan on Friday warned that a Russian assault on Ukraine could start at any moment and urged all Americans to leave the country as quickly as possible.

The U.S. has already begun reducing the size of its Embassy footprint in the Ukraine capital of Kyiv, Mr. Sullivan said.

“We are in the window when an invasion could begin at any time should [Russian President] Vladimir Putin decide to order it,” Mr. Sullivan said at the daily White House press briefing.

Without discussing the intelligence, Mr. Sullivan said Russian forces are in a position to launch major military action in Ukraine within 24 to 36 hours.  

Despite the stark warning, Mr. Sullivan said it’s not clear if Mr. 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,” Mr.  Sullivan said.

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