Russia-Ukraine Live Updates: U.S. Plans for Backups if Russia Cuts Off Gas

Live Updates
  • U.S. puts over 8,500 troops on stand-by as White House and Pentagon staff decide whether to deploy to Europe
  • President Biden says U.S. and European allies in "total unanimity" as tensions at the Russia-Ukraine border increase
  • France and Germany to hold crunch talks with Russian and Ukrainian officials in Paris on Wednesday
  • Ukraine Foreign Minister calls decision to evacuate U.S. embassy officials "premature and a manifestation of excessive caution"
  • U.S. maintains Level 4 travel advisory for Ukraine due to "the increased threats of significant Russian military action against Ukraine" and COVID
  • Ukraine receives third shipment of U.S weapons
  • President Biden says U.S. troops may be deployed soon, but not to Ukraine
U.S. Still Doesn’t Have Ukraine Ambassador
After more than a year in office, President Joe Biden still has yet to nominate someone to be the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine. This photo shows a view of the U.S. Embassy on January 24, 2022 in Kyiv, Ukraine. Sean Gallup/Getty Images

U.S., Europe plan for backups if Russia cuts off gas

The U.S. and its European allies are coordinating with major natural gas producers around the world in the event Russia 'weaponizes' its supply, White House senior administration officials said Tuesday.

U.S. officials are identifying other natural gas supplies from areas including North Africa, the Middle East, Asia and at home.

"A disruption in the physical energy supplies transiting Ukraine would, clearly, most acutely affect natural gas markets in Europe," an unnamed senior administration official said during Tuesday's call.

"And so, we're engaging our European allies to coordinate our response planning, including talking to them how they deploy their existing energy stockpiles, which are, obviously, at significantly low levels this year due to the reduced Russian supplies over the last several months."

Discussions include capacity and willingness to "temporarily surge" natural gas output for European buyers.

The official prefaced Tuesday's discussion saying a Russian cutoff would significantly impact its own economy.

"Oil and gas export revenues are two thirds of the total in Russia and about half of Russia's federal budget revenues," the official explained. "So, this is not an asymmetric advantage for Putin; it's an interdependency."

U.S. troops may be deployed soon, but not to Ukraine

U.S. troops may be deployed in the "near term," President Joe Biden said Tuesday, adding there is "no intention" of putting American troops in Ukraine.

Biden spoke with reporters during an impromptu stop in Washington D.C. Tuesday, saying deployment depends on the actions of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"I may be moving some of those troops in the near term, just because it takes time... it's not provocative," Biden said.

Biden warned of "enormous" consequences should Putin invade the entire country, or "less than that," a significant pivot from his "minor incursion" stance about a week prior.

"For Russia, not only in terms of economic consequences and political consequences, but enormous consequences worldwide," Biden said Tuesday.

"If he were to move in with all those forces, it would be the largest invasion since WWII... it would change the world."

Biden also told reporters he would consider a personal sanction on Putin in the event of an invasion.

U.S. concerned about Russian invasion into Belarus

Spokesperson for the U.S. State Department Ned Price stated that the surging of Russian troops into Belarus is "great concern."

Price warned that if Russians attack Belarus they would get a swift response from the U.S. and its allies.

This comes after Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said that Belarus is strengthening its military forces at the border with Ukraine.

U.S. welcomes engagements between allies and Russia

The State Department said it welcomes engagements between Russia and our European allies and partners.

French President Emmanuel Macron said he will speak with Russian President Vladimir Putin later this week. Macron also said he hopes the European Union can have its own conversation with Russia.

"Just as our partners and allies have welcomed our coordinated engagements with the Russian federation, we would welcome dialogue and diplomacy that could serve to de-escalate in which the Russian federation engages in good faith," State Department spokesperson Ned Price said.

Price said the U.S. would be behind anything that would serve to de-escalate tension with Moscow "in a genuine way."

Additionally, he said Germany is showing its support to Ukraine in many ways.

"Different allies are contributing in different element to effort to reinforce, deter further Russian aggression," he said.

What's important, he added, is that all these efforts of support are "mutually reinforcing" to the defensive security needs of Ukraine and the reassurance efforts for NATO's eastern flank.

U.S. warns of top level sanctions

Potential U.S. economic sanctions would begin at the 'top of the escalation ladder' in the event of a Russian invasion, White House senior administration officials said during a call Tuesday morning.

Officials discussed the range of "severe" economic measures under consideration.

"That means the gradualism of the past is out, and this time we'll start at the top of the escalation ladder and stay there," the unnamed senior administration official said.

The official added preparations are also underway to impose novel export controls, if needed.

"In the case of export controls, what we're talking about are sophisticated technologies that we design and produce that are essential inputs to Russia's strategic ambitions," the official said.

"So, you can think of these export controls as trade restrictions in the service of broader U.S. national security interests."

State Department says there are no signs of deescalation

U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price stated they haven't seen de-escalation necessary for diplomacy.

"There are no signs concrete signs on de-escalation yet," Price added.

U.S. State Dept. holds press briefing to discuss tensions with Russia

As tensions heighten over a possible Russian invasion in Ukraine, U.S. State spokesperson Ned Price held a press briefing and spoke on the U.S. transparency with Russia and press.

"U.S. has been very clear in public and private with Russian federation," Price said.

"We have been clear about specific areas missile placement, transparency, exercises, and arms control," Price added.

Secretary Blinken spoke with U.K. counterpart on Russia tensions

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with his United Kingdom counterpart Tuesday about Russia's military buildup along the Ukraine border.

Blinken and U.K. Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss discussed their joint effort to ease tensions with Russia.

"The United States and the United Kingdom are coordinating with each other, as well as with NATO and European allies and partners, to encourage Russia to de-escalate tensions and commit to a path of diplomacy," spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.

State Department Deputy Secretary Wendy Sherman also spoke with Swiss State Secretary Livia Leu Tuesday.

The pair "reaffirmed the strength of the bilateral relationship" between the two countries and discussed transatlantic security issues and their "unwavering support" for Ukraine's sovereignty.

McConnell says Biden moving in 'right direction' on Ukraine

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says the Biden administration is moving in the "right direction" on Russia-Ukraine relations in taking steps before an invasion.

"What I've been hearing since then is encouraging that they're prepared to take steps before an incursion, not afterwards," McConnell said Tuesday in Kentucky.

"It appears to me the administration is moving in the right direction."

"We certainly welcome that," White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in response to McConnell's comments.

During Tuesday's White House press briefing, Psaki explained following through on NATO commitments and standing up for the territorial sovereignty of Ukraine are central American beliefs.

"That's not just a Democratic belief or a Republican belief, that's central to who we are as a country," Psaki said.

White House says Biden has no intentions to send troops to Ukraine

During a press conference Tuesday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki gave an update on troops being alerted of a possible deployment to Ukraine.

"We are focused right now on Russia's intentions as it relates to military invasion on the ground and other steps they've taken, pushing propaganda and false flag operations. Broadly we are always preparing for any actions related to cyber or any other activity that any country could take, but I don't have a prediction about that at this point in time," Psaki stated.

The press secretary also said that there's no intentions at this time by the president to send troops to Ukraine.

NATO to send proposal to Russia this week

NATO is finalizing written proposals to be sent to Russia later this week, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told CNN's Christiane Amanpour.

Stoltenberg said NATO's written proposal would be sent in "parallel" with the written proposal from the United States, adding both received similar draft treaties from Russia some weeks ago.

Stoltenberg said, "we are ready to sit down" and discuss issues relevant to European security including arms control, disarmament and transparency on military activities.

He added NATO is ready to sit down and listen to Russia's concerns, but "we are not ready to compromise on core principles."

"There still is a diplomatic way out, but that requires that Russia de-escalates and is ready to engage in good faith in political talks with NATO and NATO allies," Stoltenberg said.

"Whether Russia is willing to do that, that remains to be seen."

U.S. Security Advisor has met with Ukrainian counterpart at least eight times in two weeks

U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan has met with his Ukrainian counterpart "at least eight times" over the past two weeks, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.

Psaki said the U.S. is in "constant and close contact" with Ukraine officials to reiterate support and provide updates on supply shipments and military equipment.

U.S., allies 'united' on severe response to Russia

The United States is in "united agreement" with its European allies regarding the imposition of severe consequences in the event of a Russian invasion, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said during Tuesday's briefing.

A reporter asked about the response from all allies, pointing to Germany's position against providing arms to Ukraine.

"United agreement among our NATO partners, including Germany, about the fact there will be severe consequences, severe economic consequences should they invade," Psaki said.

Psaki added while all actions may not be "identical," the U.S. and its partners are unified on a "strong and severe" response.

Psaki announced German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is expected to meet with President Joe Biden in the U.S. sometime in February, no date has been released yet.

Psaki points to 'aggressive actions' of Russia on Ukraine border

When asked if the U.S. agrees with Ukraine's assessment that a Russian invasion is not imminent, White House Press Secretary Jen Pskai said the threat "remains imminent."

"No one can get into the mid of President [Vladimir] Putin," she said.

Psaki pointed to the actions Russia has taken towards Ukraine thus far.

"What we have seen is a range of preparations including 100,00 troops at border, bellicose rhetoric, and actions including false flag operations to try to spread misinformation throughout the region and even the world setting up the predicate for an invasion," Psaki said.

While the U.S. prefers the path of diplomacy, Psaki said we have seen "aggressive actions and preparations at the border."

Psaki later added that President Joe Biden's assessment of the threat of Russian invasion has not changed.

"When we said it was imminent, it remains imminent," she said, adding "imminent has a pretty intense meaning."

White House press briefing: Here's how to watch

White House press secretary Jen Psaki is set to hold a press briefing at 12:15 p.m. EST amid growing tensions between Russia and Ukraine.

Here's how to watch: Live | The White House

EU offers new financial assistance package to Ukraine

The European Union will provide a new financial assistance package to Ukraine.

The €1.2 billion macro-financial package consists of both emergency loans and grants to help Ukraine build up its defense amid tensions with Russia.

"This package will help Ukraine now to address its financing needs due to the conflict," EU President Ursula von der Leyen announced Monday.

The EU will also double its bilateral assistance to Ukraine with another €120 million to "strengthen Ukraine's state-building and resilience efforts" and provide an additional €6 billion investment for Ukraine's future modernization efforts.

"Ukraine is a free and sovereign country. It makes its own choices," von der Leyen said. "The EU will continue to stand by its side."

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky thanked the EU for its assistance and "firm support" for Ukraine.

Ukraine receives third shipment of U.S. weapons

A third shipment of U.S. weapons arrived in Ukraine Tuesday as thousands of U.S. troops are on "heightened alert" to assist NATO allies, if activated.

The most recent shipment arrived in Kyiv and included about 300 Javelin anti-tank missiles, ammunition and bunker-busters.

More than 80 tons of weapons arrived in Ukraine Sunday, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said.

"The second bird in Kyiv!" he tweeted. "More than 80 tons of weapons to strengthen Ukraine's defense capabilities from our friends in the USA! And this is not the end."

Reznikov shared photos Saturday of the first shipment, thanking the U.S. for the defense support.

"The 1st bird arrived. All Ukrainians highly appreciate help in strengthening defense capabilities. Thanks to our strategic partner & personally to (U.S. Secretary of Defense) Lloyd Austin III for the unwavering support. To be continued."

The aid is part of a $200 million security support package approved by President Joe Biden in December.

Canada temporarily withdraws dependents from Ukraine

The Canadian government released a statement Tuesday about temporarily withdrawing dependents from Ukraine amid growing tensions from a possible Russian invasion in Ukraine.

"The safety and security of Canadians, our personnel and their families at our missions abroad is our top priority. Due to the ongoing Russian military buildup and destabilizing activities in and around Ukraine, we have decided to temporarily withdraw Canadian embassy staff's children under 18 years of age and family members accompanying them," the statement said.

"Officials at Global Affairs Canada and at the Embassy of Canada to Ukraine in Kyiv will continue to closely monitor the situation."

Biden administration ready to restrict U.S.-made technology exports to Russia

The U.S. is preparing to place export restrictions on US. -made technology to Russia if President Vladimir Putin decides to invade Ukraine, according to a senior Biden administration official.

Newsy reporter Kellan Howell said this could limit artificial intelligence, quantum computing and defense technology.

"A senior administration official said these export restrictions would weaken Russia's ambitions to diversify its economy," Howell reported.

State Department refuses to comment on 'Russian forces already in Ukraine' claims

When asked about Armed Forces Minister James Heappey's comments, a State Department spokesperson pointed Newsweek to comments made by Secretary Anthony Blinken a few days ago which suggested he would not "comment on specific intelligence reports".

But in the comments, Blinken reaffirmed the U.S. government's belief that Russia is planning to "in some way topple or replace the government" in Ukraine and that several Russian agents have already been "sanctioned" for operations in the country.

Ukraine official says Russian invasion is not imminent

Ukraine says Russian invasion is not imminent.

Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov told parliament Tuesday that as of today, "there are no grounds to believe" that Russia is planning an imminent invasion.

He said Russia troops have not formed what he called a "battle group" that could infiltrate Ukraine borders, according to the Associated Press.

"Don't worry, sleep well," Reznikov said. "No need to have your bags packed."

Ukraine leaders have acknowledged the threat from Russia is real and will accept a shipment of military equipment from the U.S.

Russian forces already in Ukraine, suggests British minister

Armed Forces Minister James Heappey has said the government is "becoming aware of a significant number" of people analysts believe are associated with the Russian military already in the country.

As I write, we are becoming aware of a significant number of individuals that are assessed to be associated with Russian military advance-force operations and currently located in Ukraine.

In an op-ed for the Sun newspaper today, he said that "all those years of post-Cold War complacency are catching up" on Western countries, reiterating the seriousness of the situation in eastern Europe.

WATCH: Harris says U.S. is ready to make 'decisive action' if Russia invades Ukraine

The Vice President did not confirm exactly what she meant by "decisive action" but all eyes are now on the decision around the 8,500 U.S. troops that could be deployed to eastern Europe.

Former M.I.6. boss thinks it is 'hard to see how Putin can back down'

Sir Alex Younger suggested that it would be unacceptable to Putin to appear weak - which he would if he backed down on Ukraine - in an interview with BBC Radio 4's Today Programme this morning.

"It's dangerous and it's clearly getting more dangerous," he said, "and it's hard to see a safe landing zone".

Given the maximal nature of his demands, given that he's rejected the only reasonable compromise, it's hard for me to see how he can avoid having to follow through to some extent.

He added that he thought Putin is "playing poker rather than chess - creating options but he may not yet have decided what he's going to do".

Russia starts 'combat readiness inspections' - reports

Soldiers have been patrolling the southern military district, which borders Ukraine, according to TRT World, citing the RIA news agency.

The agency said more than 6,000 Russian troops took part in the exercises this morning.

Russia watching U.S. troop developments 'with great concern'

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said President Vladimir Putin would talk this week to his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, who is also planning to speak with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy tomorrow.

But Peskov expressed the Putin regime's concern about the prospect of 8,500 troops being ready for deployment in Europe, with a decision expected in the coming.

He said Moscow officials continue to wait for a written U.S. response this week to its list of security demands it has presented - some of which Washington has dismissed as non-starters. Peskov confirmed that the U.S. troop announcement did not affect current negotiations.

Cost of flights out of Ukraine soar

Airlines like Ukrainian Air have raised fares by as much as 131 percent in the past week as tens of thousands of Russian troops gather at the country's border and people look to flee ahead of potential conflict.

The most dramatic price increase was from UIA, whose cheapest fare shot up from $29 last Tuesday to $1,924 leaving tomorrow - no flights were available today.

It is a radical departure from Newsweek's report comparing fares last week, which found that prices had risen by over 130 percent in just one day but only to $67.

Biden caught calling reporter 'stupid son of a b*tch' in hot mic mixup

The President appeared to think the mic was off when Fox correspondent Pete Doocy asked him if he thought soaring inflation was a "liability" ahead of the midterms.

It came after a heated conference mostly dominated by the U.S. response to the Ukraine crisis.

NATO chief warns of 'severe costs' after meeting with world leaders

Jen Stoltenberg hailed the meeting between Biden and European leaders as "great" and reiterated the agreement between NATO allies that an incursion by Russian forces would result in "severe costs".

Top GOP figures come out against deploying troops to Ukraine

Arizona Congressman Paul Gosar said the U.S. has "no dog in the Ukraine fight" and warned the White House and Pentagon officials against deploying troops to Europe - an option being hotly debated in Washington.

Not one American soldier should die there, and not one American bullet should be fired there. We just lost Afghanistan to sandal-wearing goat herders. I assure you Russian military is no joke either.

Similarly, Kentucky Representative Thomas Massie said "too many in our government care about the Ukrainian border more than the U.S. border," while Florida congressman and staunch Trump supporter Anthony Sabatini recalled the 'America First' policy and has set up a petition against any decision by Biden to deploy troops.

FULL STORY: Republican Figures Urge Biden Not to Deploy Troops in Ukraine-Russia Dispute

Boris Johnson warns of Russia plan that could 'take out Kyiv'

The British Prime Minister warned that "gloomy" intelligence suggested Russia was planning a rapid and precise "lightning war" which would see the Ukrainian capital fall in days.

He said it would be a "disastrous step" and warned Russia to think twice before taking military action.

The intelligence is very clear that there are 60 Russian battle groups on the borders of Ukraine, the plan for a lightning war that could take out Kyiv is one that everybody can see. We need to make it very clear to the Kremlin, to Russia, that that would be a disastrous step. I think it's very important that people in Russia understand that this could be a new Chechnya.

Europe and U.S. maintain united front in public as moves to 'deter' Russia escalate

World leaders held a crunch meeting with NATO general secretary Jens Stolberg last night, where they restated their commitments to do everything possible - short of full-scale conflict - to "deter Russian aggression" in the face of a possible takeover of Ukraine by Russian forces.

On the call was President Biden, alongside the leaders of the U.K., France, Germany, Italy, Poland, and the European Union, who discussed how to "reinforce security on the eastern flank" amid the buildup of an estimated 100,000 Russian troops.

'We are very worried': France and Germany agree to step up talks with Russia

Officials announced last night that Russian and Ukrainian officials will meet in Paris tomorrow alongside their French and German counterparts in a ramping up of diplomatic talks.

The meeting style - known in diplomatic circles as the 'Normandy Format' - will be a last-ditch attempt by the European heavyweights to avert conflict between Russia and Ukraine, with France in particular expressing a desire to see "a path to de-escalation" that would likely include concessions from both sides.

One of Russia's vice-prime ministers and a senior aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky are expected to attend, as well as diplomatic advisors to French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

Good morning and welcome to Newsweek's liveblog

Officials across the U.S. government are gearing up to debate whether to send the 8,500 troops - now on stand-by - to Ukraine.

Follow Newsweek's liveblog throughout Tuesday for all the latest.

Heightned fears of a Russia invasion caused Kyiv to stop planes from being parked their overnight

With threats of a Russia invasion looming, four European airlines halted plane parking in Kyiv.

According to Flightradar24's data from Jan. 22-23, Dutch KLM, Germany's Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, and Swiss International Airlines have made sudden changes to their Kyiv flight schedule so that planes and their crew would be spending fewer hours in Ukraine over heightened fears.

U.S. says there are 'many forms' of de-escalation

State Department Spokesman Ned Price said de-escalation can take "many forms" amid rising concerns of a Russian attack on Ukraine.

Price said Russia seems poised to take aggressive action towards Ukraine at any moment and U.S. moves, including putting 8,500 U.S. troops on standby, are not offensive, but rather efforts for "defense and deterrence."

He said these actions are not the same as the aggressive attacks Russia has taken against a sovereign nation.

"Were the Russians to de-escalate, you would not see the same set of moves" from the U.S., NATO or Ukraine, Prince said.

Price added that Russian de-escalation can take "many forms."

The end goal is to see Russian forces return to their barracks, a cease and reversal the buildup along the Ukraine border and an end to the aggressive rhetoric, Price said.

"We would welcome any form of de-escalation as an initial step," he added.

State Dept. denies disagreement between allies on Russian response

State Department Spokesperson Ned Price denied there is any daylight or disagreement between the U.S. and its European allies over the unified response to Russian aggression towards Ukraine.

"If Russian forces move across the Ukraine border, it will be met with swift, severe and united response on the part of the United States and our allies," Price said. "There is no ambiguity, there is no daylight. We know that and importantly the Russian Federation knows that."

Price pointed to the near-identical statements put out by U.S. and European officials that demonstrate a united front on the consequences for further Russian aggression towards Ukraine.

He added that the U.S. is in "constant coordination" with its partners and allies in Europe.

Pentagon places up to 8,500 U.S. troops on 'heightened alert'

Up to 8,500 U.S. troops are being placed on "heightened alert" for possible deployment to Eastern Europe, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby announced during a news briefing Monday.

President Joe Biden gave the order following recommendations made by U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, as diplomacy continues to be prioritized.

"The United States is taking steps to "heighten the readiness" of its forces at home and abroad so they are prepared to respond to a range of contingencies," Kirby said.

Kirby emphasized that no decisions on deployment have been made, the move is meant to provide troops the appropriate time to prepare in the event they are activated.

Kirby said all troops are U.S. based and the "vast majority" are intended for the NATO Response Force (NRF); therefore, deployment would be activated by NATO.

"The United States would be in a position to rapidly deploy additional brigade combat teams," Kirby explained, including logistics, medical, aviation, intelligence, surveillance, transportation and additional capabilities into Europe.

The move is to reassure and "bolster" NATO allies with capabilities they might need, Kirby said.

Kirby said more specifics would be provided after units are notified.

Trump releases statement a statement about Russia and Ukraine

Former President Donald Trump released a statement concerning Russia's possible invasion in Ukraine.

"What's happening with Russia and Ukraine would never have happened under the Trump Administration. Not even a possibility," Trump said.

Defense, State Departments to hold press briefings

The State and Defense Departments will each hold press briefings at 2:30 p.m. ET Monday afternoon.

The Defense Department briefing from Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby will stream live on the Defense Department website.

The State Department briefing from Spokesperson Ned Price will stream live on the State Department website and YouTube page.

Ukraine will not join Biden's call with European allies

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will not be on President Biden's call with European allies to discuss their response to Russian actions towards Ukraine.

"We had a range of conversations with Ukrainians," White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said during a press briefing Monday, noting Secretary of State Atony Blinken's recent meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart in Europe last week.

Psaki noted Ukrainian officials will be part of many conversations moving forward, "as they have been from the beginning."

Biden and other European leaders are expected to discuss pending sanctions on Russia and negotiations, Psaki said. She added the call will be about deterrence and defense efforts and diplomacy.

Biden to hold call with European allies on Russia response

President Joe Biden will hold a video call with European allies Monday afternoon to discuss their collective response to Russia's military buildup on Ukraine borders.

Biden will speak with the leaders of Germany, France, Italy, Poland, the United Kingdom, NATO and the European Union at 3 p.m. ET.

The secure call in the situation Room will be closed to the press, according to the White House.

U.S. citizens encouraged to use airlines, make the decision 'to move'

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield spoke about ongoing efforts to allow and encourage American diplomats and citizens to depart Ukraine amid the ongoing crisis.

"We see 127,000 troops building up along the border, we have seen that the Russians have put troops in Belarus," Thomas-Greenfield said during a press conference Monday.

"We have an obligation to protect our staff. We see the situation deteriorating and we want to make sure that we put our staff in a place where they feel protected."

"We're encouraging at the same time that American citizens use this time, when they have the opportunity, to use commercial airlines... they make the decision to move before the situation becomes non-permissive."

Sunday, the U.S. State Department additionally issued a security alert to U.S. citizens in Belarus, where a Level 4 Travel Advisory is currently in place, to exercise "increased awareness and vigilance."

"U.S. citizens are advised to avoid public demonstrations and to regularly reevaluate possible departure plans in the event of an emergency," the alert reads.

U.S. Ambassador says announced sanctions against the Russians will be 'punitive'

During a press briefing, U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield was asked questions on sanctions concerning Russia.

"The sanctions we announced will be punitive," Thomas- Greenfield said.

She mentioned that letting the Russians know in advance hopefully will be preventative.

"We hope diplomacy will encourage Russians to stick to that approach," she added.

"NATO has been strong in their support for regional partners and we are regularly consulting with those colleagues to ensure they get the support they require to bolster their own concerns but also support Ukraine," she stated.

Is the U.S. prepared for war? U.S. Ambassador explains

Is the U.S. prepared for war? A reporter asked U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield the question during Monday's press briefing.

Thomas-Greenfield says the focus remains on finding diplomatic solutions, adding the U.S. is prepared to impose economic sanctions should negotiations fail.

"We have not given up on a diplomatic solution and we continue to engage with our allies and our partners with a unified voice to the Russians that de-escalation is the best choice that they can make," she answered.

"We're hopeful we will succeed in de-escalation, but should the Russians go for confrontation, we will respond aggressively in terms of sanctions on their economy that will have an impact. We want to find a solution at the negotiating and diplomatic table and not from a full-fledged confrontation."

UN Ambassador says tensions with Russia are 'bigger than Ukraine'

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield said the current tensions with Russia are "bigger than Ukraine."

She said Russia's action undermine the collective principles enshrined in UN charter that were agreed upon to maintain global peace and security

"UN member states have all agreed that one nation cannot simply change the borders of another by force," Thomas-Greenfield said. "Nor can one nation dictate to another its choices, its alliances or its partnership under threat of violence."

Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield also reiterated that further invasion from Russia into Ukraine would "strike at heart of the UN charter" and "open a Pandora's box of concerns for all of us."

She added that Russia's actions towards Ukraine are not just a regional issue because they impact every UN member state.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations calls for de-escalation from Russia

Ina press briefing, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield called for signs of de-escalation from Russia.

"We need to see signs of de-escalation from Russia," she said.

The U.S. Ambassador made everyone aware that the method of Russia's planned attacks is of no surprise.

"While we can't predict exactly what will happen next, we know Russia's playbook we know it includes measures beyond overt military action, it often starts with cyber-attacks," she stated.

"Disinformation campaigns intended to obscure the facts and create a pretext for their own aggression. In this case they have already been trafficking in disinformation and propaganda attempting to paint Ukraine and Ukrainian the government officials as the aggressors and Russia as the victim," the U.S. Ambassador added.

According to Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield, there's only one country with 100,000 troops prepositioned on the border, participating in war games, and spreading propaganda which is Russia.

"We have pushed back against Russia's fictious narratives, and we will continue doing so," she noted.

State Department authorizes voluntary departure for officials in Ukraine

The U.S. State Department authorized a voluntary departure of government officials from the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine.

"Authorized departure gives these employees the option to depart if they wish; their departure is not required," the State Department said in a statement, adding that the ordered departure for family members requires that family members leave the country, effective immediately.

This decision was made "out of an abundance of caution" due to Russia's continued efforts to "destabilize and undermine" the security of those living in Ukraine.

"We continue to reaffirm our support for the Ukrainian people and do so while committed to one of the Department's highest priorities, the safety and security of our diplomats and the American people," the State Department said. "Our primary role is to keep the U.S. citizen community informed of safety and security developments, which could include information on commercial travel options."

The State Department said the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv remains open for regular operations and stressed that this decision will "in no way impact our commitment to finding a diplomatic solution to Russia's deeply troubling build-up of forces in and around Ukraine."

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