U.S. President Joe Biden on Thursday warned Americans currently in Ukraine to leave amid ongoing threats of an invasion by Russia.
In a television interview, Biden said “American citizens should leave now” citing uncertainty in the region as Russia has amassed more than 100,000 troops on the border it shares with Ukraine.
“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,” he said.
The U.S. State Department on Thursday also issued a “Level 4: Do Not Travel” advisory to Ukraine citing “increased threats of Russian military action” while urging those in the country currently to depart “via commercial or private means.”
“If remaining in Ukraine, exercise increased caution due to crime, civil unrest and potential combat operations should Russia take military action,” the State Department said.
Over the weekend, reports stated a U.S. government assessment found that Russia has assembled 70 percent of the military personnel and weapons on Ukraine’s border needed to launch a full-scale invasion.
Despite the warning, Biden said that if Russian President Vladimir Putin is “foolish enough to go in, he’s smart enough not to, in fact, do anything that would negatively impact on American citizens.”
The United States has previously warned of dire consequences for Russia if it chooses to invade Ukraine in the form of sanctions and potential loss as a result of conflict.
Russia has denied plans to invade Ukraine, with Russian Ambassador to the U.N. Vasily Nebenzya accusing the United States of “provoking” the situation during a United Nations Security Council late last month.
Russia has demanded that Ukraine and other ex-Soviet countries not be granted admission to NATO and calling on the military alliance to reduce deployments in Central and Eastern Europe, alleging NATO expansion poses a threat to Russian security.