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International

WSJ: White House approves plan to prepare for Ukraine evacuation

Feb 09, 2022

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Headshot of <p class="author-name text-name1">Alex Peebles</p> />
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					<p class=Alex Peebles

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According to a Wall Street Journal report, the White House has approved a Pentagon plan to begin preparing for a potential evacuation of American citizens in Ukraine should Russia invade. There has already been a partial evacuation of the U.S. embassy in Kyiv. The report, which cites anonymous U.S. officials, said the plan involves some of the 1,700 U.S. troops being deployed to Poland. The troops will soon begin setting up checkpoints, tent camps and other temporary facilities inside Poland’s border with Ukraine.

“There hasn’t been an invasion and we don’t know that there has been a decision to invade,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said at her Wednesday briefing. “We have a range of diplomatic presences not only in Ukraine, but in neighboring countries that are always available for a U.S. citizen should they need assistance.”

The reported plan to prepare for a Ukraine evacuation comes months after the Biden administration was criticized for leaving American citizens behind when they pulled out of Afghanistan. Psaki compared the two situations Wednesday.

“What people should understand is that the United States does not typically do mass evacuations,” Psaki said. “Of course, the situation in Afghanistan was unique for many reasons, including that it was the end of a 20-year war. We were bringing a war to an end. We were not trying to prevent a war, as we are certainly in this case.”

News about the Ukraine evacuation plan comes on the same day three more Russian Navy ships sailed through Turkey to join military drills in the Black Sea. Three other Russian Navy ships made the trips Tuesday. Both Russia and Ukraine border the Black Sea.

Despite this, a spokesperson for Russia’s foreign ministry said Wednesday “we are convinced that it is possible to achieve a de-escalation of the situation around Ukraine.”

“To do this, it is necessary to stop deliveries of weapons to Ukraine, recall Western military advisers and instructors from its territory, stop joint exercises of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and NATO countries, and withdraw all foreign weapons previously delivered to Kiev from Ukrainian territory,” Maria Zakharova said.

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