US has discussed plans for Ukrainian leader to leave if Russia invades: report
The Biden administration has discussed plans to relocate Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky from Kyiv to Lviv in western Ukraine in the event of a Russian invasion, NBC reported.
Two sources familiar with the discussions told the news outlet the Biden administration views the Ukrainian leader as “increasingly vulnerable.”
The Biden administration had warned for weeks that an attack on Ukraine could be imminent and President Biden on Friday said he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin has made up his mind to move forward with an invasion of Ukraine.
However, despite Zelensky and the Ukrainian government’s criticisms of the United States for emphasizing the danger of an imminent Russian invasion of the country, NBC reported that the Ukrainian government has been “discreetly preparing for a possible Russian military attack.”
This comes as Putin on Monday recognized as independent two breakaway territories in eastern Ukraine, marking a sharp escalation in tensions between Moscow and the West.
The U.S. also said that it has “credible information” that Russian forces have identified Ukrainians “to be killed or sent to camps” in the event of an invasion, according to a letter from a top diplomat, The Washington Post reported.
“Disturbing information recently obtained by the United States that indicates that human rights violations and abuses in the aftermath of a further invasion are being planned,” the U.S. Representative to the Office of the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva, Ambassador Bathsheba Nell Crocker, alleges in a letter to the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has denied the letter’s claims and called it “absolute fiction.”
Up to 190,000 Russian soldiers are believed to have amassed near Ukraine’s borders. White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters that the U.S. believes Russia is planning an “extremely violent” invasion of Ukraine, saying Moscow will seek to “crush” the Ukrainian people.
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