The United States has warned that Russia could attack Ukraine at any time amid rising tensions along the border.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki told a news conference on Tuesday, “We are now at a stage where Russia could launch an attack in Ukraine at any time.”
Western nations are calling on Russia to withdraw around 100,000 troops amassed near the country’s border with Ukraine.
PSAKI said the United States had been informed that the Russian government was preparing to evacuate family members of Russian diplomats from Ukraine between late December and early January.
The US and Russian governments said US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov spoke by phone on Tuesday.
Blinken stressed the importance of pursuing a diplomatic path to defuse tensions over Russian military buildup.
Lavrov said he expects a quick written response to Russia’s request for assurances that NATO will not expand further. He also urged the United States not to reproduce speculation of alleged “Russian aggression”.
Blinken and Lavrov agreed to hold face-to-face talks in Geneva on Friday. Blinken plans to travel to Ukraine two days before to meet President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba.
He will also travel to Germany to meet the country’s foreign minister, Annalena Baerbock, on Thursday.