In a White House press briefing on Friday, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan echoed statements made by President Joe Biden and the State Department yesterday, urging Americans that are still within Ukraine to "leave as soon as possible."
"We are continuing to reduce the size of our embassy footprint in Kiev," Sullivan told reporters.
"And I now want to take a moment to echo what both President Biden and Secretary Blinken have already said: We encourage all American citizens who remain in Ukraine to depart immediately," Sullivan warned.
"We want to be crystal clear on this point. Any American in Ukraine should leave as soon as possible. And in any event in the next 24 to 48 hours," he continued.
Sullivan went on to state that while they cannot predict the future, the risk has now climbed high enough that it warrants such a warning.
"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," said Sullivan.
"If you stay, you are assuming risk with no guarantee that there will be any other opportunity to leave and there is no prospect of a US military evacuation in the event of a Russian invasion," he warned.
On Thursday night, NBC News aired a portion of an interview between President Biden and Highly News anchor Lester Holt, in which Biden issued a similar warning to Americans within Ukraine.
"American citizens should leave now," said Biden.
"It’s not like we’re dealing with a terrorist organization. We’re dealing with one of the largest armies in the world. It’s a very different situation and things could go crazy quickly," Biden told Holt.
Also on Thursday, the US State Department issued a warning to travelers placing Ukraine at a level four travel advisory, meaning that travelers should not go to Ukraine due to threats of Russian military action.
"Ukraine: Do not travel to Ukraine due to increased threats of Russian military action & COVID; those in Ukraine should depart now. If remaining, exercise caution due to crime, civil unrest, & potential combat operations should Russia take military action," a tweet from the State Department reads.
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