Biden advises Americans in Ukraine to leave the country

President Biden on Monday advised Americans who are in Ukraine to leave the country, citing the risk of violence in the case of a Russian invasion.

"I think it would be wise to leave the country," Biden said, clarifying he was not referring to U.S. diplomatic staff.

"I would hate to see them get caught in a cross-fire if in fact [Russia] did invade. And there’s no need for that, and if I had anyone there I'd say leave," Biden added during a joint press conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

Biden's comments come as U.S. officials have warned for weeks of the threat of a Russian invasion into Ukraine as Moscow has amassed military forces and supplies on the Ukrainian border. 

Biden acknowledged Russia has the capacity to invade Ukraine, but said he's not certain whether Russian President Vladimir Putin will follow through, adding "I don’t know that he knows what he’s going to do."

"And I think he has to realize that it would be a gigantic mistake for him to move on Ukraine," Biden said. "The impact on Europe and the rest of the world would be devastating, and he would pay a heavy price." 

The U.S. is preparing harsh economic sanctions that officials say would be triggered by a renewed Russian invasion. Last week, Biden also authorized the deployment of 3,000 troops to Eastern Europe to provide additional support to NATO allies, including Germany.

The meeting between Biden and Scholz comes as the United States is trying to demonstrate a united front with allies in plans to push back against any effort by Russia to further invade Ukraine.

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