Russia thins out Embassy in Ukraine, possible clue to Putin’s next move… White House warns invasion may be imminent… Weighs more military support…

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Russia Thins Out Its Embassy in Ukraine, a Possible Clue to Putin’s Next Move

KYIV, Ukraine — The week before intensive diplomatic meetings began over the buildup of Russian troops on the Ukrainian border, American and Ukrainian officials watched from afar as Russia began emptying out its embassy in Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital.

On Jan. 5, 18 people — mostly the children and wives of Russian diplomats — boarded buses and embarked on a 15-hour drive home to Moscow, according to a senior Ukrainian security official.

About 30 more followed in the next few days, from Kyiv and a consulate in Lviv, in western Ukraine. Diplomats at two other Russian consulates have been told to prepare to leave Ukraine, the security official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss national security matters.

White House warns Russian invasion of Ukraine may be imminent

WASHINGTON — The White House believes Russia could launch an invasion of Ukraine at any moment, press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday, warning that an “extremely dangerous situation” is building along the Ukrainian border.

“We believe we’re now at a stage where Russia could at any point launch an attack on Ukraine. I would say that’s more stark than we have been,” Psaki said during her daily press briefing.

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The assessment comes as Secretary of State Antony Blinken travels to Ukraine this week to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Blinken spoke with Russia’s foreign minister on Tuesday morning and the two plan to meet in Geneva, where he will urge Russia to “take immediate steps to de-escalate,” Psaki said.

US weighs more military support for Ukraine to resist Russia if it invades

(CNN)The Biden administration is weighing new options, including providing more arms to Ukraine to resist a Russian occupation, to try to raise the costs for Russian President Vladimir Putin should he decide to invade the country.

The discussions, described by multiple sources familiar with them, reflect a sense of pessimism in the administration following last week’s diplomatic talks with Russian officials that yielded no breakthroughs and as Russia has continued to raise its force levels in the last few days.
In addition to considering how to help the Ukrainian military and government fend off an invasion, the US is evaluating options for bolstering Ukrainian forces’ ability to resist a potential Russian occupation. That includes potentially providing the Ukrainian Army with additional ammunition, mortars, Javelin anti-tank missiles, and anti-aircraft missile systems, which would likely come from NATO allies, a senior US official told CNN.

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