Kirby: Time is ‘shrinking’ in diplomatic efforts with Russia over Ukraine

Associated Press/Czarek Sokolowski

Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said on Sunday that time is “shrinking” when it comes to finding a diplomatic resolution to the Russian military buildup at the Ukrainian border, as U.S. officials warn that an invasion could come within days.

While appearing on “Fox News Sunday,” Kirby was asked if recent diplomatic efforts by European allies were a “last-ditch” effort to find a solution to Russian aggression.

“I don’t know if I say last-ditch, but certainly we recognize the time component here seems to be shrinking. And that gives us all cause for concern,” Kirby said.

“But again, we’ve said it and we still believe it today that there is still a time and a space for a diplomatic path forward,” he added. “We still believe that there’s a way to de-escalate the tensions here find a peaceful way out of this so that a war in Ukraine can be averted.”

In light of the looming threat of a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine, multiple countries including Sweden, Denmark and the U.S. have urged their citizens in Ukraine to leave the country. National security adviser Jake Sullivan said last week that the U.S. would not be sending in troops to evacuate Americans if Russia invades Ukraine, saying they should leave now.

Kirby reiterated that point on Sunday, telling Fox News Channel anchor Sandra Smith, “Now is not the time to be in Ukraine. You should make plans to leave immediately.”

On Saturday, Kirby announced that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin ordered 160 U.S. troops to be repositioned in Europe following a phone call with the Pentagon chief’s Russian counterpart, Sergey Shoygu.

“Abundance of caution, safety and security of our personnel his paramount concern. We remain committed to our relationship with the Ukrainian armed forces,” Kirby said at the time.

Tags Jake Sullivan John Kirby John Kirby Lloyd Austin Russia Ukraine

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